Updated: Feb 22, 2021
Terrific Tammy books Chelsea FA Cup Quarter-Final against Sheffield United in March.
In ‘normal’ times Oakwell would have been electric in the build-up to an FA Cup tie against Chelsea, but instead the seats remained empty, and football resumed as we now know it.
Going into the clash, Barnsley had won just 1 of their previous 6 games in all competitions – being respectively sat mid-table in the Championship. Their opponents however arrived unbeaten under their team manager Thomas Tuchel, conceding just 1 goal under his reign.
Valérin Ismaël set his side up in a 3-4-3 formation, with The Tykes starting former Chelsea goalkeeper Bradley Collins in between the sticks. Alternatively, Thomas Tuchel started his first ever FA Cup game by making 10 changes to his Chelsea side, seeing a host of fringe players make their way into the starting 11.
Barnsley begun the game brilliantly, with the best chance of the first half falling for the Championship side in the opening 10 minutes.
The move stemmed from Alex Mowatt on the left-hand side, who got the better of Hudson-Odoi before whipping a cross into the penalty area. The cross was met by Chaplin, who diverted the ball towards the back post where it was met by Brittain, who saw his attempt brilliantly denied by Arrizabalaga from point blank range.
It was a scrappy affair for the opening 15 minutes, with Barnsley pressing well and playing at a high intensity.
On the 19th minute, Tammy Abraham was brought down inside the Barnsley penalty area. Although referee Martin Attkinson originally saw nothing wrong with the challenge, replays showed defender Toby Sibbick making no contact with the ball.
With there being no VAR involved at Oakwell, the ruling couldn’t be overturned, leaving Abraham furious with the decision.
A minute or so later, Chelsea broke again through Christian Pulisic as they searched for the first goal of the game. The American had a chance to play Abraham through on goal, but the pass from the winger was disappointing as the move then crumbled.
Although things weren’t quite going to plan for The Blues, it seemed as if Tuchel’s side was beginning to find their rhythm, as they finally got a foothold in the game.
However, on the 26th minute momentum changed again, as there was a chance for home side with Mowatt was involved once again.
The captain did well to get himself into a good position, however his effort failed to hit the target as another oppurtunity went begging for Barnsley.
The Tykes were playing well, as both Brittain and Styles continued to press forward and work their side into dangerous positions. The Championship side were maybe beginning to fancy their chances, as they continued to peg Chelsea back, with The Blues struggling to create any real chances in the first half.
On the 44th minute, Barnsley came close once again as Chelsea were caught completely off-guard by an unorthodox corner from The Reds.
A simple pass from a corner-kick allowed Barnsley to do exactly what they practised on the training ground. The ball was worked from Chaplin onto Brittain, who saw his goal bound shot deflected away from the target by his own teammate.
A head in hands moment for Valérin Ismaël – who would have been gutted not to see his side take a deserved lead into the break at half-time.
Thomas Tuchel begun the second half by making two changes within the interval, as Andreas Christensen and Marcos Alonso were replaced by Antonio Rüdiger and Reece James. The substitutions allowed for The Blues to change their shape, now setting up as a 4-man defence.
Despite the changes, Chelsea still looked lacklustre, as Barnsley continued to play well and look the better of the two teams. Things only begun to change for the visitors on the 57th minute, as Callum Hudson-Odoi came close for Chelsea.
The winger did brilliantly with his control as he brought down the ball from the sky, he then did well to worm his way in towards the penalty area, before seeing his attempt fizzle across the face of goal and wide off the post.
This injected life and energy into The Blues, who came close again on the 61st minute as Antonio Rüdiger’s header went just wide of the goal post.
Tuchel’s side didn’t have their only shot on target until the 64th minute of the game, as Tammy Abraham put his side ahead in what was a relief to Chelsea fans across the globe.
The move begun with Billy Gilmour, who shifted the play out wide to Reece James. The defender did brilliantly to use his pace and work himself into an attacking position, where he would square the pass to Abraham who converted from close range.
Although Chelsea had the lead, the game still looked far from over. The Blues continued to look for a second goal, but the home side ensured they did all they could to push Chelsea until the very end.
Ismaël’s side came close to an equaliser on the 77th minute, as Michael Sollbauer’s header was heroically denied off the line by goal scorer Tammy Abraham. The striker did excellently in defending the following corner too, as he continued to impress on both ends of the pitch.
As the minutes counted down, Barnsley continued to apply pressure, which required the work of both Kepa Arrizabalaga and the Chelsea defence – which eventually got them over the line in South Yorkshire.
After the whistle:
Overall, credit has to be given to Barnsley, who gave it their all from start to finish. The Tykes were unlucky not to score in the game and will take great pride in their spirited performance. Next up for Ismaël’s side is a trip to West London on Sunday afternoon, as they take on an inform Brentford side.
Although it wasn’t pretty, its yet another win and clean sheet for Thomas Tuchel, as he attains a victory in his first ever FA Cup match. The victory secures Chelsea a place in the quarter final for the 15th time since 2000, which is the most of any team this century.
Next up for Tuchel and Chelsea is a return to Stamford Bridge on Monday night, as they host Steve Bruce and Newcastle United.
Barnsley 0-1 Chelsea.
- Abraham (64’).
Man of the match:
Tammy Abraham (Chelsea).
Chelsea: Arrizabalaga; Zouma, Christensen (45’), Emerson; Hudson-Odoi, Gilmour, Kanté ©, Alonso (45’); Ziyech (69’), Pulisic (80’), Abraham.
- Subs: James (45’), Rüdiger (45’), Anjorin (69’), Kovačić (80’).
Barnsley: Collins; Sibbick (76’), Helik, Andersen; Brittain (73’), Kane (73’), Mowatt©, Styles; Adeboyejo (59’), Woodrow, Chaplin (59’).
- Subs: Frieser (59’), Dike (59’), Williams (73’), Palmer (73’), Sollbauer (76’).
Barnsley (28%) vs Chelsea (72%).
Barnsley (14) vs Chelsea (6).
Shots on target:
Barnsley (4) vs Chelsea (1).
Barnsley (7) vs Chelsea (2).
Barnsley (7) vs Chelsea (7).
- (statistics via BBC Sport).
- (video via The Emirates FA Cup).