Chelsea’s Nigerian-born midfielder, Ross Barkley is back in the spotlight with The Blues, following his stunning goal in their UEFA Eruopa League victory last Thursday.
The ex-Everton star, whose Nigerian links come from his grandfather, has been in the penumbra at Stamford Bridge, due to loss of form and several injuries, but Thursday turned out with a different setting for him.
Barkley’s return to the spotlight, which could earn him more playing time moving forward, helped ease off a lot of pressure from the shoulders of embattled Italian gaffer, Maurizio Sarri.
Observers were unanimous that the away victory was just what they needed after Sunday’s 6-0 thrashing by Manchester City and gives them a huge boost ahead of Monday’s FA Cup tie with Manchester United.
Sarri’s future was thrown into doubt by that dismal result at Etihad Stadium, Chelsea’s worst defeat in the Premier League era and the Italian admitted he was unsure whether he would be sacked.
Sarri, though, get a little relief, after Barkley’s opening goal in the away fixture helped The Blues eke out a historic 2-1 win in the first leg of their last-32 tie.
Olivier Giroud was also on target for Chelsea, with Anders Christiansen pulling a goal back for Malmo in the closing stages.