Barcelona 1-2 Chelsea: Lampard's Blues defeat Blaugrana in Saitama
Photo credit:(Gettyimages/Atsushi Tomura)

New Chelsea boss Frank Lampard will have dismissed some of the doubts surrounding his appointment after his side beat Spanish champions Barcelona in Japan on Tuesday to ignite their pre-season preparations.

Story of the game

In what was an even start to proceedings, Chelsea created the first opening as left-back Emerson whipped in a dangerous cross only for Samuel Umtiti to clear with Tammy Abraham ghosting in at the far post.

Chelsea's earlier start to pre-season began to show as the first half progressed. New arrival Christian Pulisic saw his effort parried by Marc-Andre Ter Stegen into the path of Abraham who failed to convert when it looked easier to score.

The London club did take the lead 34 minutes in, however, as this time Abraham made no mistake. The 21-year-old was sent through one-on-one with Ter Stegen after a mistake from Sergio Busquets and calmly jinked past the German stopper before slotting home.

The impressive Pulisic almost doubled his side's lead as half-time approached as he went on a blistering run down the left flank, but he could, ultimately, only find the side netting from a tight angle.

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Luis Enrique changed his entire team at half-time with debutant Antoine Griezmann making way for fellow new signing Frenkie de Jong. The Frenchman failed to make much of an impact and was on the end of a crunching challenge from Jorginho early on in the half that would no doubt have received harsher punishment in a competitive fixture.

Barcelona appeared more of a threat to the Chelsea goal at the start of the second half as Carles Alena force Kepa Arrizalabaga into a save with a driven strike to the keeper's left.

The Catalan outfit continued to create clearer openings than they had in the first half through both Carles Perez and Rafinha but neither managed to really trouble Kepa.

Second half goalkeeper Norberto Neto was called into action when an effort from substitute Kenedy deflected off Jean-Clair Todibo right in front of the Brazilian.

The Blues did double their lead with nine minutes remaining as Ross Barkley beat Neto at his near post with a smart shot from the edge of the area.

There was still time for the 25-time La Liga champions to pull a goal back, though, as Ivan Rakitic found the top corner with a stunning effort from distance.

Takeaways from the match

Result not a reflection of Chelsea's quality

Chelsea's win over Barcelona was as much a sign of how good they are as the defeat to Kawasaki Frontale on Friday in that neither are at all.

Results are arguably the least pivotal part of pre-season, with the main focus being regaining fitness and deciding on the playing style for the coming season.

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So, whilst Chelsea were impressive against their Spanish opponents on Tuesday, the result does not make them better than Barcelona. Especially when the match was Barca's first of pre-season.

Lampard yet to decide on his strongest team

This game marked Frank Lampard's fourth in charge of Chelsea since replacing Maurizio Sarri following the 2018-19 season and he has so far implemented a handful of formations, including 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3.

Whilst the two fixtures in Ireland against Bohemians and St. Patrick's included much more youthful sides, the former Derby boss named an 11 that would not be out of place in the Premier League this time around.

Despite this, he made a collection of changes throughout the second half, suggesting that places in his side are very much still up for grabs, with the likes of Willian still yet to return following the Copa America.

Abraham not yet Champions League quality

It was an eventful game for Abraham, who led the line for 60 minutes, and despite taking his goal well, he remains shy of the quality required to be Chelsea's first-choice striker this season.

The near-open goal miss prior to his strike a sign perhaps of the young striker's naivety in front of goal, whilst his only previous season in the Premier League yielded just five goals in 31 appearances, albeit for a very poor Swansea City side.

Despite this, Abraham is expected to be in and around the first-team squad with Lampard having the advantage of all three of his senior forwards - Abraham, Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi - all offering a different variation on the role of the striker.

The creativity of Pulisic, Willian and Barkley also means that whoever starts upfront will not be short on goal-scoring opportunities.

MOTM: Christian Pulisic

Despite this being just the 20-year-old American's second outing in a Chelsea shirt, he already looks an exciting talent that will at the bare minimum soften the blow of Eden Hazard's departure to Real Madrid.

Pulisic provided a constant threat to what was a full-strength Barcelona back four with piercing runs as he utilised his blistering pace.

The Wideman, who signed from Borussia Dortmund for £57.6m in January before being loaned back, looked to create for his teammates throughout his time on the pitch whilst also possessing the ability to go it alone when possible.

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