Match Report: FC Barcelona 1-2 Chelsea
Tammy Abraham found the net just after the hour mark as he stabbed home to deservedly put Chelsea ahead at the break. Then Ross Barkley added to the lead late on in the second-half with a strike from the edge of the box.
Frank Lampard made several changes to the side with Kepa Arrizabalaga, Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic all coming in for the Blues to face Barcelona in Japan.
Antoine Griezmann was the only play to get handed a start out of the new signings as Neto and Frenkie De Jong had to settle for the bench in Saitama.
Barcelona started the game well in the opening few minutes, but the Blues grew into the game and dominated the first-half.
Mateo Kovacic lifted a delightful cross into the box for the oncoming Cesar Azpilicueta to head towards goal, but he could only steer his effort wide as he got ahead of standstill full-back Jordi Alba.
The hosts nearly were ahead as a beautiful pick outdid the Chelsea defence but Kepa reacted quickly and scrambled to the ball, just in time before Ousmane Dembele could react.
Tammy Abraham should’ve put the Blues ahead after Christian Pulisic’s effort was parried by Ter Stegen. It fell to the forward but he could only blaze his effort over the bar from seven yards out.
Christian Pulisic then went close as a decent exchange between between Mason Mount and Azpilicueta saw the Spaniard play it across to Pulisic who was waiting in the box. However, the USA international could only drag his effort wide of the goal.
Just past the half hour mark and Abraham put Chelsea ahead. Copious amounts of high press from Chelsea in the first-half led to the opening goal. They forced and error and Jorginho managed to intercept a pass which put Abraham in on goal. The forward then rolled it on his left and tapped it into the empty net.
Pulisic then chased down and hunted the Barcelona side and found himself in on goal, but he could only lash his effort into the near post side netting.
Barcelona made 11 changes for the second-half and brought on a brand new side, whilst Marcos Alonso and Kurt Zouma were the only changes made for the Blues.
Fikayo Tomori was then brought on just after the break for Andreas Christensen.
Carlos Perez had a bright start to the half for the Spanish side as he was denied twice in the space of as many minutes. The first he dribbled his way into the box but could only toe-poke at Kepa, whilst the second was a tame left-footed effort which was straight at Kepa once again.
Pedro was then wanting to get in on the action but his shot from afar was comfortably collected by Neto.
Kepa Arrizabalaga was proving his worth with a solid performance in his first game in pre-season.
Chelsea and Frank Lampard rung the changes on two occasions as seven changes were made between the 60th and 70th minute.
Batshuayi then shot from the angle but Neto denied the Belgian. Probably, and should have done better there.
Ross Barkley doubled the Blues’ lead with a decent finish. Alonso played it to the midfielder’s feet, and he scuffed it and curled it, and Neto couldn’t scramble across in time.
Ivan Rakitic scored a goal at the end as he fired from distance past Kepa, but it didn’t have a bearing on the end result.
An excellent test for Chelsea sees them pass it with flying colours. Performances across the whole team were second to none, likewise with the intensity levels.
The Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic pivot worked tremendously and gives Frank Lampard a selection headache, a good one, ahead of Manchester United should N’Golo Kante be fit in time for the trip to Old Trafford.
Chelsea will now travel back to the UK before their visit of the Madejski Stadium on Sunday to face Reading.