Chelsea vs Barcelona. Under the lights. Saitama Stadium. 11:30GMT kick off. This was the big time. This is what football is all about [corporate games intended to increase brand awareness] and it certainly lived up to the billing.
And it was Frank Lampard’s Chelsea who nabbed the crucial victory, thanks to goals from English duo Tammy Abraham and Ross Barkley. Actually, that opener was mainly thanks to the efforts of Sergio Busquets, who, uncharacteristically, sloppily gave the ball away on the edge of his box.
Which lead to the Twitterati getting behind him, offering their commiserations and encouragement. Obviously.
That’s not to take away from Tammy’s involvement, who still had a fair bit to do, and finished it cooly with a two-touch finish past Marc-Andre ter Stegen, which provoked some nice, sensible comments.
TAMMY! Sure, it fell right to him, but good job to evade the keeper & finish.
And the goal came from great pressure from Jorginho. Love the energy from the team.
— Alex Goldberg (@AlexGoldberg_) July 23, 2019
And some nice, outrageous comments.
To be honest, it was more about redemption for Abraham, after the former Aston Villa loanee missed a gilt-edged opportunity moments before the goal. And it was the same sentiment for Ross Barkley, who sealed all three, err, ‘points’ for the Blues with a well-struck (in a pre-season kind of way) long-range strike with 10 minutes to go.
Which went down well.
Ross Barkley showing Messi FC
— LL Oluwa Don Mari ? (@ogsimsmari) July 23, 2019
ROSS BARKLEY, BARKLEYDINHO, PIECE DI ROSSISTANCE, THE ROSS-ATRON, ROSS AL GUL, ROSSCLART BARKLEY. ALL THOSE WHO DOUBTED HIM WILL BE BEGGING FOR FORGIVNESS pic.twitter.com/fzivNhkFbr
— NotSRG (@NotSRG2) July 23, 2019
But then, in added time, Ivan Rakitic scored an all-year-round good goal, helping to soften ?Barca’s woes, and cementing the Croatian’s place in the team following a summer of unrest.
Well, for some, at least.
Useless goal. Rakitic out
— #BartomeuOUT #ValverdeOUT (@valverdeout2018) July 23, 2019
In any case, the final whistle rang out, with Chelsea the victors. Naturally, fans were keen to stay grounded, and keep a pre-season perspective. Naturally.
announce champions league winners
— Grace primrose (@grace_primrose0) July 23, 2019
Guys. I think we’re gonna win the Quadruple ?
— Liam (@StartTheBounce) July 23, 2019
Of course, the absence of Lionel Messi was conspicuous and, unsurprisingly, some fans were quick to point this out.
But, in any case, after a rocky start to pre-season, and some early ‘#LampardOut’ shouts, the new boss looks to have steadied the ship in west London, at least for the time being, and the good folk on Twitter were quick to recognise this, thankfully.
Which means it’s only a matter of time before this picture is replicated in real life.
Pre-season overreactions: You Love to See It.