It is difficult for any Premier League midfielder to match the goal scoring record that Frank Lampard achieved at Chelsea, however in a team heavily reliant on their front three for goals this season, Ross Barkley needs to step-up and be on the scoresheet more consistently for the Blues.
I looked back on Barkley’s goalscoring record at Everton, where on average he would score five goals and achieve 6 assists a season. Barkley is halfway to meeting these targets, but in a team struggling for goals in midfield, one has to wonder if he is offering enough to Chelsea’s attacking play.
Barkley has shown in glimpses this season that he has the attacking ability to grab a few more goals for the team, however since his last-minute equaliser against Manchester United, his influence in the last-third has all but dried up.
I have noticed that he has attempted less shots on goal in recent games, where before he would often take a pop at the opposition’s goal once or twice in a game.
The Stamford Bridge faithful were rightfully frustrated with Barkley last night and made their views heard, with many loud groans following every misplaced pass or poor decision he made. I thought Barkley was the weakest player on the pitch last night and was a passenger for the majority of the game, which does not bode well with Loftus-Cheek returning from injury in the near future. Maybe he can feel the unrest within the stadium directed at him, explaining the Englishman’s reluctance to pull the trigger as often as he used to.
N’golo Kante has surprisingly become Chelsea’s most clinical finisher in midfield, with his wonderful strike against Tottenham last night further highlighting this point.
There is the argument that Barkley has more important duties in Sarri’s system, where his defensive and passing capabilities is more important than what he offers in attack. We know that Sarri preferred both Kovacic and Barkley over Loftus-Cheek early-on in the season due to their defensive talents, so maybe asking Barkley to offer more going forward is unfair as Sarri is not demanding it of him.
Certainly now with the signing of Gonzalo Higuain, the Argentine may add an extra dozen or so goals for the team, which would relieve some of the pressure on Barkley to hit the back of the net more consistently.
There is no-one more hopeful for Barkley’s success than myself, as I can see he has a great attitude to be a success at Chelsea and it is always nice to have a contingent of homegrown players in our first team.
What I enjoyed last night was seeing his great relationship with his teammates during the wild celebrations after our penalty triumph, so he is obviously a favourite within the Chelsea dressing room.
Barkley has stated how he wants to follow in Frank Lampard’s footsteps, but while he will likely not reach the same goal scoring heights of Frank, his commitment and attitude will certainly be beneficial to the closing end of Chelsea’s season.