Chelsea favourite Frank Lampard was impressed with the performance of Willian during the Blues' 1-1 draw versus Barcelona in the first-leg of the Champions League round of 16. The Brazil international put in one of the best performances of his Blues career on the night, and he was unfortunate to have not bagged a hat-trick versus the Catalan giants.
Speaking on BT Sport, Lampard hailed the Blues attacker by saying: "He was excellent, he was the man. We were all looking at Hazard pre-game but I think Willian was the man tonight. He was unlucky with both of his strikes in the first-half. He showed Barcelona what he can do which is to shift to his right foot which we saw twice with a couple of sighters and on the third time he buries it. It was an absolutely fantastic goal from him."
Obviously much of the focus was on the battle between Eden Hazard and Lionel Messi, but the Brazilian stole the limelight with his stunning curlers from offside the box. The 29-year-old saw his first two efforts ricochet off the woodwork after goalkeeper Marc-Andre TerStegen was well beaten, but he eventually got his reward for his perseverance in the 62nd minute.
Despite his goal, the Blues could not hold onto their slender lead after a poor cross-field ball from Andreas Christensen allowed Andres Iniesta to lay the ball for Lionel Messi, who equalised 13 minutes later. The away goal removed the sheen out of a good defensive performance for the Blues, but they will go into the second-leg with some optimism.
The west London giants now have a run of difficult Premier League games which include trips to Manchester United and Manchester City, and Antonio Conte will hope that the club can maintain a similar showing to that against Barcelona, where they had the better chances with less than 30 per cent of the possession.
World Cup Group G