Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea progressed to the FA Cup quarter finals thanks to a scrappy 1-0 win against Barnsley at Oakwell, with Tammy Abraham getting the only goal. In a very evenly fought opening 45, it was Barnsley who had the […]
Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea progressed to the FA Cup quarter finals thanks to a scrappy 1-0 win against Barnsley at Oakwell, with Tammy Abraham getting the only goal.
In a very evenly fought opening 45, it was Barnsley who had the better chances. Callum Brittain came closest for the Tykes but had his effort saved from point blank range by Kepa Arrizabalaga. Chelsea should have been awarded a spot kick in the 20th minute when Abraham was unjustly brought down in the area but Martin Atkinson waved play on, leaving the tie goalless at the break.
Chelsea improved after the break, having switched shape and approach. The Blues found themselves dominating goalscoring opportunities with Callum Hudson-Odoi and Antonio Rudiger coming close to netting the opener. But it was Abraham who found the decisive strike in the 65th minute when he tapped a Reece James cross into an empty net.
The England striker proved vital again at the other end when he headed off his line brilliantly to deny Barnsley an equaliser after a Kepa mistake. That proved to be the Tykes’ last clear-cut chance, and the visitors held on to progress.
Now, let’s take a look at the Chelsea player ratings.
Kepa Arrizabalaga (GK) – 6/10 – Really good save in the tenth minute to keep the game 0-0, but had to ruin an otherwise decent performance with a very near blunder from a cross with just over ten to go.
Andreas Christensen (CB) – 6/10 – Won the ball five times and made three clearances before coming off at the break. Might have been something to do with a knock to the head before the break – let’s hope it’s nothing lasting.
Kurt Zouma (CB) -7/10 – Proved he doesn’t need Thiago Silva by his side with a very solid outing. The Frenchman dealt with a bright-looking Barnsley front line well, making five clearances and winning four aerials.
Emerson (CB) – 6/10 – Quietly assured performance on the left side of the Blues’ defence, rarely losing out to Barnsley forwards, making four clearances and two ball recoveries.
Callum Hudson-Odoi (RWB) – 6/10 – Very quiet in the first half but looked much better after being put on the left wing in the second. Threatened the Tykes’ back line and nearly found the net with a beautiful solo effort on the hour mark.
N’Golo Kante (CM) – 7/10 – Looked a lot more comfortable when he assumed his preferred holding midfield role after the break, regaining possession five times.
Billy Gilmour (CM) – 7/10 – Looked stifled in the first half, always choosing the easy pass. Took advantage of increased freedom in the second and troubled his opponents, eventually playing a vital role in Chelsea’s opener.
Marcos Alonso (LWB) – 6/10 – Had a wake up call when he was at fault for the Barnsley chance in the tenth minute and subsequently defended well, making five ball recoveries before being taken off at half time.
Hakim Ziyech (RW) – 5/10 – Made a couple of good touches and seemed likely to unlock a rigid Barnsley defence, but nothing came off for the Moroccan, losing the ball nine times before being brought off.
Tammy Abraham (ST) – 9/10 – Was unlucky not to be awarded a penalty in the first half, but managed to get on the scoresheet with the Blues’ opener. Also saved Kepa’s blushes and kept his side ahead with a brilliant header off the line late on – heroic.
Christian Pulisic (LW) – 5/10 – Couldn’t get into the game and struggled against the physicality of Barnsley’s defence, losing the ball four times and making just 40 touches.
Antonio Rudiger (CB) – 6/10 – Solid enough after coming on, making a couple of good clearances and blocks.
Reece James (RB) – 7/10 – Looked threatening down the right after his introduction and bagged a good assist for Abraham’s goal.
Tino Anjorin (CM) – 6/10
Mateo Kovacic (CM) – N/A