Frank Lampard’s Chelsea have been making waves in Europe and in the domestic league this season. They currently sit 3rd on the Premier League table after 11 games and just 2 points shy of 1st placed Spurs. Much of that success has been accredited to the arrival of their marquee summer signings, but there may be an unsung hero somewhere.
The blues brought in Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell, and Edouard Mendy in a bid to fix their glaringly obvious defensive frailties. Further up the pitch, more firepower was added in the shape of Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz, and Timo Werner. Chelsea have improved largely since the start of the 2020/21 season, but that marked improvement may not only be due to the arrival of these players in the last transfer window. Frank Lampard also made additions to his backroom staff, recruiting Anthony Barry as first team coach during that busy summer.
The 34-year-old Barry played as a midfielder in the English football league system, and was teammates with Jamie Vardy at Fleetwood. Teaming up with the existing coaching crew of Jody Morris, Joe Edwards and Chris Jones at Cobham, Barry has helped stabilize the Blues. Chelsea have remarkably improved at set pieces since he arrived. Last season, Chelsea shipped in a whopping 54 goals in the Premier League alone.
Out of the 79 goals they conceded in all competitions, only 29 were from open play. That is a remarkably high 50 goals conceded from set piece/dead ball situations. 11 from corners, 10 from free kicks, 8 from throw-ins, 6 from the penalty spot, 3 from direct free-kicks, and a further 10 from other dead ball situations.
Chelsea have improved drastically since Anthony Barry arrived
However, they have been a much changed side this campaign, in Europe and domestically. After letting a couple of goals in their first few games, the Blues have been quite tight at the back, goalkeeper Edouard Mendy topping the clean sheet rankings in the Premier League. Chelsea have not just improved in defending set pieces this season, they have also improved in attacking set pieces. They have scored 8 of the 10 penalties they have been awarded this season. The manner in which they defend corners this season has also been impressive, Barry is definitely having a positive effect on the Blues.
14 points, 14 goals scored and just 2 conceded was how they finished their UEFA Champions League group stage campaign. Top of the group, 4 wins including that 4-0 drubbing of Sevilla, 2 draws and 0 defeats!
Chelsea’s unsung hero is always seen barking out instructions to the players during set-pieces. Whether in training at Cobham or during games.
Anthony Barry, who joined Lampard’s backroom staff in the summer from Wigan Athletic, has been working tirelessly to change Chelsea’s fortunes at set-pieces.
And his influence in the Rennes match was evident for all to see. pic.twitter.com/FbnsWMBq6e
— Frank Khalid (@FrankKhalidUK) November 5, 2020