If you want an example of how quickly things can change in football, cast your mind back to Chelsea’s opening Champions League game against Valencia this season.
The game came on the back of a poor start under Frank Lampard, they lost 1-0 and the game ended in controversy as Ross Barkley grabbed a late penalty, only to stick in over the bar.
The match report from The Guardian at the time suggested that Willian and Jorginho were also in the frame to take the kick, but the Englishman insisted. When you look at Jorginho’s competence from the spot since then it shows he probably should’ve taken it.
Lampard’s men still have a good chance of qualifying, they are tied for first place with Valencia and Ajax, but a loss in Spain tomorrow night could be a disaster – it would leave them three points behind Valencia and the Spaniards would get the head to head advantage if they finished level. That would leave them needing to finish above Ajax.
If Ross Barkley has any hopes of redemption in this game, then they were dashed by Frank Lampard announcing he will not travel with the team to Spain:
On Ross Barkley, who hasn’t travelled to Spain, Lampard reports that is because he is still carrying an injury so he has to keep training to gain full fitness. Hudson-Odoi remains out with a knock and Rudiger is working towards match fitness.#VCFCHE
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) November 26, 2019
It’s also worth noting that The Evening Standard reported a slightly different reason for Barkley’s omission. They claim it’s not only because of fitness issues, but concerns over his attitude as well.
Either way, Barkley won’t get the chance to find redemption for that penalty miss in the opening fixture.