A cold and breezy night in South Yorkshire ends in favour of Chelsea as the Blues advance to the next round of the FA Cup after a hard-fought victory against Championship side Barnsley. Thomas Tuchel made some major changes to the starting eleven with only Christensen being the sole survivor from the Sheffield United match. The pitch wasn’t in the most pristine condition as so was our sharpness, failing to cope with their press. They were bright moments of play where we did manage to create good attacking opportunities but the majority of the match exhibited Chelsea struggling to play through the tight spaces. Despite most of the possession, Chelsea found it difficult to get in the opposition’s box due to the relentless press Barnsley implemented. A beautiful counter-attack from the Blues gave them the only goal of the game with Reece James delivering a wonderful cross to Tammy Abraham to score the only goal of the match. The Chelsea Social crew give their thoughts on the Barnsley v Chelsea clash.
Chelsea 1 – 0 Barnselona. Not a pretty game, but a win is a win. This game reminded me of a proper Sunday league match. The pitch was in horrible condition with the mud making it difficult to play quick and progressive football. Barnsley took advantage of this and played a game of volleyball for most of the game, especially the first half. They gave us a difficult game to their credit, but the pitch conditions probably helped them a lot more than people realise. Also, it was a miracle that we didn’t get at least one penalty, another unlucky thing that made the game even more unbearable. All our technical and smaller players massively struggled, such as Pulisic, Ziyech, and arguably a few others. Overall, this game gave me old school FA Cup vibes. Horrid pitch conditions, lots of ball in the air, lots of physical duels, and just a really difficult game to watch. A win is a win however, so we move.
Barnsley v Chelsea. A win is a win. At the end of the day, I think this was a poor performance from Chelsea but we have progressed and that’s all that matters. Certain players didn’t quite hit the mark for me in this game including Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech who were both very poor today. However there were a couple of decent performances from Abraham, Kepa, and Gilmour. My man of the match was Tammy as I thought not only did he look very sharp, but he was vital to the win, scoring at one end and clearing off the line at the other! As much as it was a bore to watch at times, I am very glad that we have managed to get the win and things are looking up for us now going into the Newcastle game. We also got given a decent draw against Sheffield United in the next round of the FA Cup which is also on the horizon.
The Barnsley v Chelsea saw a nervy and disappointing performance which ended in a victory for the heavily rotated Blues. I knew that with Chelsea’s rotations expected, we might’ve faced some challenges coming into the match against an in-form Barnsley. What I didn’t expect is a complete let down from the players. The horrible conditioned pitch didn’t help, but our players were not ready for this FA Cup tie. Nevertheless, it was good to see our team find attacking opportunities and finding the goal they desperately needed when it eventually arrived. Tammy had a poor half but improved his overall play in the second which included the goal. Thomas’s bold choice to revert to a back four, as he saw that Barnsley was matching us tactically, paid off. The change of system is a good sign to come as it shows flexibility and proactive in-game-management, something that Lampard struggled with as a manager. The lack of urgency of our build-up was substandard, but perhaps it was due to them being mostly fresh and having no chemistry under Tuchel’s reign. I was pleased with Kepa and how he showed confidence when Chelsea was in danger. The midfield severely missed Mason Mount and his relentless work rate but I am glad we managed to scuff out the win. The next opponent is Newcastle at the Bridge which could be another physical and feisty game. I expect us to be more prepared as we’ve seen them before in the League, but hopefully we can continue progressing in the FA Cup. We move.
Let’s face it, the Barnsley v Chelsea match won’t go down in the history books as being the most memorable of matches. However, what will remain on the record is that the Blues won 1-0 and progressed to the FA Cup quarter final during this season. While I wasn’t exactly expecting champagne football due to the lack of chemistry arising from the suite of changes, I would be lying if I said I was pleased with the performance overall. Yes the pitch played a part but the brutal reality is we were outfought for large parts of the match which would have been disappointing for Tuchel. That said, there were some bright sparks from the sense we were able to contain a spirited Barnsley and also orchestrate a well-constructed goal. In the end, an ugly win can sometimes be a blessing as it allows them to take some valuable takeaways to improve but not at the expense of the most important thing, the result. Newcastle next in the League, need to focus on that. Up the Chels!
Written By: Rey, Iram, Ben and RJ
Edited By: Ross-John (RJ) Bonaccorsi (@RJ_Goodthings)
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