“No wonder it was Chelsea and Frank Lampard who had campaigned for nine substitutes to be allowed on the bench when football restarted after the coronavirus shutdown,” writes Matt Law for the Telegraph.
“And, according to Lampard, he would have used all nine of them if he had been allowed following what he claimed was Chelsea’s worst 45 minutes of the season.
“But a treble change at half-time proved to be enough as, for the second time in Chelsea’s three games since the restart, Lampard used his bench to devastating effect to guide his team into the semi-finals of the FA Cup.
“A week earlier it had been Christian Pulisic who stepped off the bench to score against Aston Villa and at the King Power Stadium it was Ross Barkley who changed the game in Chelsea’s favour.
“Barkley was one of the three substitutions made by Lampard, who hooked youngsters Mason Mount, Billy Gilmour and Reece James, and gave his team a half-time rocket.”
“Frank Lampard would have been forgiven for fancying a drop far stronger than water during a first-half drinks break that he would follow with a treble substitution at half-time,” writes Craig Hope for the Daily Mail.
“That move proved a sober judgement and one that keeps alive the dream of a trophy in his first season back at Chelsea as manager.
“‘Liven up’ he had repeatedly screamed at his careless side, Lampard’s touchline animation in sharp contrast to the lethargy of his players.
“But if his interval intervention was a jolt intended to snap them from their slumber, then it worked, and for that he deserves enormous credit.
“Of course, the luxury of five substitutes means a treble change is not the headline-making act of old – a la Jose Mourinho during his early days at Chelsea – but Lampard’s decision changed the course of this contest, make no mistake there.
“It was fitting, then, that half-time arrival Ross Barkley emerged as the match-winner. The finish was Lampard-esque, too, a ghostly drift into the penalty area climaxed with a first-time sweep into the bottom corner.”
“Barkley a man for the Cup stage,” writes Lawrence Ostlere for the Independent. “Even if Ross Barkley doesn’t play a key role in Chelsea’s Premier League run-in, he has surely done enough to play an important part in their tilt at the FA Cup.
“This goal, taken brilliantly with a dart into the box reminiscent of his manager, was his third in the competition this season, breaking the deadlock just as Lampard would have asked of him as a half-time substitute.
“Questions still remain over Barkley’s decision making, as well as his long-term fitness, but here he showed exactly what he can offer when he’s in the team, particularly playing in that forward-facing No 8 role.
“Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s late cameo was reminder of the depth in Chelsea’s midfield, but Barkley will surely get another opportunity in the Wembley semi-final to come.”
Why should you sign up?
In each football.london Chelsea bulletin, we’ll be bringing you the latest breaking news, transfer features and comment pieces, as well as the key talking points for fans.
We’ll also send special newsletters when big stories break or there’s a special event happening.
How do you sign up?
It’s easy and only takes seconds.
Simply type your email address into the box at the top of this article – or any article on the Chelsea section of football.london in fact – labelled ‘Get the biggest daily stories by email’ and click ‘Subscribe’.
And that’s it, you’re all set.
If you decide later that you no longer wish to receive the emails, simply follow the unsubscribe link in one of the newsletters – but we don’t think you’ll want to.
For more details, click here.
“Billy Gilmour appeared to be growing nicely into the Chelsea side before the coronavirus break. And based on this showing it came at exactly the wrong time for him,” writes Alex Smith for the Mirror.
“Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Matteo Kovacic are back in contention and Gilmour has found himself further down the pecking order in the Premier League plans.
“This was, therefore, a big chance for him to re-establish himself.
“But the 19-year-old had a horror of a first-half – strewn with missed tackles and miss-placed passes, two of which should have ended up in Leicester goals.
“His withdrawal at half time was not a surprise.
“One of the issues was his position further forward than previously utilised.
“Of course, none of this means he is a bad player and won’t go on to have a storming career – hopefully he can use this as a learning experience.”