Tammy Abraham can be Chelsea’s main No 9, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic prove they can run a midfield… but it’s bye-bye to Tiemoue Bakayoko and Kenedy: Five things we learned from Chelsea 2-1 Barcelona
Frank Lampard’s Chelsea finished off their pre-season tour of Japan in style with a comfortable victory over Barcelona.
Tammy Abraham and Ross Barkley both found the back of the net for the Blues before Ivan Rakitic netted a screamer in the final minute of the game.
Here, Sportsmail’s MATT BARLOW looks at the five things we learned from the clash at the Saitama Stadium.
Ross Barkley scored Chelsea’s second goal as they ran out 2-1 winners against Barcelona
Abraham makes a case to be permanent No 9
Tammy Abraham pulled on the No 9 shirt and rose to the challenge, scoring the goal to give Chelsea the lead. Jorginho closed down Sergio Busquets and forced the ball towards Abraham who adjusted quickly and side-stepped ‘keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegan to score.
It was a sweet moment for Abraham who was ruled out of the 1-0 defeat against Kawasaki Frontale on Friday with tonsillitis. He missed his first chance of the game when a strike by Christian Pulisic was parried to him by Ter Stegen.
Abraham hooked the rebound over but his positional instinct had him in the right place at the right time on both occasions and he took his goal with style which should boost his confidence. The centre-forward’s position appears up for grabs and the 21-year-old did his case no harm. His pace in behind offered a different threat.
Tammy Abraham showed he could be Chelsea’s permanent No 9 by scoring the opener
Lampard faces headache over Mount or Barkley
Mason Mount was given the nod to start for the third time in four pre-season games which proves Frank Lampard’s faith in this young midfielder.
Mount has excelled in training since his return to Chelsea and Lampard trusts him to create in the playmaker’s role in his 4-2-3-1 formation ahead of Ross Barkley. The was a flash of his quality in first half when he left Samuel Umtiti sprawled on the turf and fizzed a left-footer just over from 20 yards.
Mount played for an hour and his vision and invention on the ball combined nicely with a speedy trio of strikers: Pulisic, Abraham and Pedro. He was replaced by Barkley who scored Chelsea’s second with his left foot from the edge of the penalty area to offer Lampard some food for thought.
Frank Lampard seems to prefer Mason Mount but Barkley gave him food for thought with goal
Jorginho and Kovacic prove they can run a midfield
Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic were able to exert far more control on midfield for Chelsea than they were in the previous game against Kawasaki which will encourage Lampard after the setback of seeing N’Golo Kante sent home from the tour to continue his recovery from a knee injury in London.
Chelsea hoped to see Kante back on the pitch against Barcelona but, after a sluggish first 15 minutes, this midfield pair moved the ball well and generated a healthy tempo.
Perhaps proof that, as Lampard said, the disappointing display against Kawasaki was down to weary legs from pre-season training and travel. Jorginho made a key contribution when he read the intentions of Sergio Busquets to set up the first for Abraham.
Mateo Kovacic controlled the middle of the park for Chelsea and generated a healthy tempo
It’s bye-bye to Bakayoko and Kenedy
Tiemoue Bakayoko looks to be in prime position as the senior foreign player who will have to be jettisoned because there is not space in the 25-man Premier League squad for everyone.
Lampard’s three preferred central midfielders are clearly Kante, Jorginho and Kovacic. Danny Drinkwater has the edge over Bakayoko for the fourth spot by virtue of the fact he classifies as a home-grown player in the squads for both the Premier League and Champions League.
In Europe, Pulisic does not qualify on the list of Under-21s as he does in the Premier League, so Lampard will have to find another senior foreign player to omit which, as it stands, seems most likely to be Kenedy.
Tiemoue Bakayoko looks to be the prime foreign player to be jettisoned this summer
Kepa a safe-hands bet to shine this season
Kepa Arrizabalaga is well set for a big season. He has returned in good touch and made a series of fine saves in Saitama to preserve Chelsea’s lead, perhaps the best of them low to deny Carles Alena in the second half.
Kepa was only beaten by a screamer from the right boot of Ivan Rakitic in stoppage time. He arrived amid great expectations as the world’s most expensive goalkeeper but grew in stature as his first season went on and flourished after the Wembley farce when he refused to be substituted.
The opening fixture at Manchester United, a head-to-head against David de Gea, will offer plenty of inspiration.
Kepa Arrizabalaga looks set for a big season after making a string of superb saves on Tuesday