Why this could be Ross Barkley’s breakout season under Maurizio Sarri
Chelsea have begun the season in positive manner, winning both of their league games, beating London rivals Arsenal in the process. New manager Maurizio Sarri is in the house now, settled enough to gradually get his side playing in the way he wants to.
One of the players who has started both games is Ross Barkley, a player bought this January but wasn’t given opportunities under the previous management of Antonio Conte. The Englishman did well in the pre-season and earned his spot in the team due to perseverance of coming through the fringes at Stamford Bridge.
Now, this is a huge season for the £15m Conte signing, who is continually doing his best to break-out from the inner shell and showcase his talent in high-level football. Here’s why playing under Sarri would help Barkley to flourish as one of the No.8s in the team.
Sarri’s ball-playing system
In Sarri’s 4-3-3 system, the two central midfielders, who are positioned ahead of the No.6, are more of a pair of No.10s. They will support the attackers in pressing high up the pitch, and also play on half-spaces in between the lines to get the ball in space. They have a job to support the defensive midfielder while retrieving the ball, not allowing easy possession to opposition midfielders.
Considering Barkley’s attributes as a player, it makes sense that the manager has slotted him into one of those No.8 positions. It also helps that N’Golo Kante is there, who sometimes might not make runs forward.
So, Barkley has the license to make forays up the pitch beyond the last line. The good thing is that he has shown high work-rate to track and help the team whenever required.
Therefore, Barkley breaking into regular football is mostly helped by the system that Sarri plays. Hence, thinking about this season and expecting the 24-year-old to do well isn’t a surprise.
He has the required talent and skill-set to become one of the best ball-playing, attack-minded central midfielders in the Chelsea set-up.
Chelsea would also benefit from the fact that a player who has shown enough promise is finally starting to show why he can be a vital player for them in the coming games and seasons.