Football: Barnsley exposed by Vialli
Monday 25 August 1997
Barnsley 0 Chelsea 6
For all the romanticism gilded on to Barnsley's elevation into the Premiership, harsh reality suggested their first brush with England's elite could end unhappily. They might confound expectation, as they have done regularly in recent years, but yesterday there was an unmistakable impression of problems coming home to roost.
Four goals from Gianluca Vialli ripped the heart out of the home side, who looked what everyone outside South Yorkshire predicted they would be this season: outclassed. Bothered, bewildered and finally demoralised by Chelsea, who were a joy to watch, you wonder what repercussions this will have for self-belief at Oakwell.
For 20 minutes Emmerdale lived with the King's Road - indeed, Barnsley had the better chances - but once Dan Pestrescu and Gustavo Poyet had put the Londoners ahead, Vialli's demolition of an eager but naive defence was almost cruel.
"I'm sure they feel shell shocked," Danny Wilson, the Barnsley manager, said of his players. "We had a lesson today, they toyed with us at times in the second half. It brings us down to earth a little bit." With a crash.
Chelsea had to reconstruct their defence beforehand due to Frank Leboeuf's stomach upset but if it was static initially their movement further ahead was a wonder and, having ridden their luck, Chelsea pulled Barnsley apart with three goals in 19 minutes. From defence to attack the ball was propelled with breakneck speed, leaving the home players breathless and confused.
The first arrived after 25 minutes and, for all Petrescu's clinical finishing, he was helped by the inadequacies of the Barnsley defence. Nicky Eaden had a chance to clear with a header and failed, Adrian de Zeeuw swung a boot and missed, so that the Romanian could drag the ball back and then find the net with a shot off a post.
The home defence had been present if incorrect for the first goal; they disappeared for the second 12 minutes later. Vialli and Gianfranco Zola dragged their markers to the near post so that Poyet was on his own when Frank Sinclair's cross from the right reached him. His header, powerful and downwards, was saved by Dave Watson but the Uruguayan stabbed in the rebound. You could see the confidence drip out of the Barnsley players, who found themselves further behind with a goal of stunning simplicity minutes before half-time. De Goey threw the ball to Petrescu, his pass was perfectly weighted and Vialli lashed the ball past Watson with a half- volley from the edge of the area.
At 3-0 down the best Barnsley could hope for was respectability but that eluded them. Vialli got his second and Chelsea's fourth, heading beyond Watson after the goalkeeper had saved his initial shot, and then completed his hat trick after Wise's quick feet had earned him space on the left of the area.
By now the Barnsley defence was in tatters and it duly presented Vialli with his fourth goal when Watson got tangled with his colleagues from Wise's corner. From eight yards out, in this form, the Italian could hardly miss.
Not bad for a player who could not get into the Chelsea first team last season. "It's a different Vialli this year," Ruud Gullit, the Chelsea player manager, said. "Sharp. He's stopped smoking, he's doing extra work, he's a real professional. Today he showed what a good player he is."
Latest in Sport
Liverpool vs Bolton report: Brilliant Adam Bogdan produces heroics to earn Wanderers a replay
What time is the 2015 WWE Royal Rumble on? And full card
Cristiano Ronaldo vine: Real Madrid forward sent-off for kicking and striking opponent during 2-1 win over Cordoba
Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
Arsenal transfer news and rumours: Gabriel Paulista fee agreed as Gunners make £13.5m bid to sign Villarreal defender - reports
- 1 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 Syrian refugee child beaten by Istanbul Burger King manager for eating customer’s leftover food
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...
Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...
£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...