New Chelsea FC signing can’t play with Eden Hazard, claims Paul Merson

Paul Merson delivers his verdict on Ross Barkley after his debut for Chelsea FC against Arsenal last week

paul merson
Arsenal legend Paul Merson Photo: Sky Sports

Ross Barkley can’t play in the same Chelsea FC team as Eden Hazard, according to Paul Merson.

Barkley has been getting used to life at Stamford Bridge in recent days after having signed for the west London side from Everton as their first recruit of the January window.

The England international made his debut for the Blues when he came off the bench to replace the injured Willian in Chelsea FC’s League Cup semi-final defeat by Arsenal last week.

However, the 24-year-old looked understandably rusty as he made his first appearance of the season following a lengthy lay-off with a hamstring injury.

But Merson was watching the game closely and claimed that it doesn’t look as if Barkley will be able to play in the same team as talisman Hazard.

Writing in his column for the Daily Star, Merson said: “Ross Barkley can’t play with Eden Hazard and I fear for him at Chelsea.

“Barkley is a good player and it’s harsh to judge him on his debut against Arsenal on Wednesday because he’s been injured for a long time and obviously isn’t fully match fit.

“But it isn’t good when everyone is saying that your introduction for Chelsea was the moment which tilted the semi-final Arsenal’s way.

“There was one moment in the game when Hazard could have passed to Barkley but completely ignored him. That does not bode well.”

Merson added: “He over-complicates the game and gives the ball away too much. He doesn’t play the right pass consistently or quickly enough. He needs to learn.

“But I don’t think he can play in the same team as Hazard. They are too similar.”

Meanwhile, both Barkley and Hazard will be hoping to feature for Chelsea FC when the Blues host Newcastle United in the fourth round of the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon.

The Blues will then switch their attentions back to Premier League affairs and their home clash against Bournemouth on Wednesday night at Stamford Bridge.

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