Chelsea is in action in the FA Cup this week as it travels to Barnsley to take on the Tykes. This is the second meeting between the two sides this season with the former winning 6-0 in the Carabao Cup back in September. Kai Havertz, Tammy Abraham, Ross Barkley and Olivier Giroud all netted goals that day for the home side as the Blues cruised. As Thomas Tuchel prepares his side for a tough run of matches in the coming weeks, it’ll get a nice break in the fifth round of the FA Cup. Barring the near impossible, the Blues should be able to capture an easy victory against their Championship foes.
Here is how The Pride of London staff sees the match playing out:
Olaoluwa Nwobodo: 0-3 Chelsea
The Blues will likely face a more resilient Barnsley team this time around, though that should have no bearing on the outcome. Tuchel’s team has not lost a game yet and that’s good, considering the games his side has played. The FA Cup still represents Chelsea’s best chance at silverware this season, so you can expect Tuchel to take this game super seriously.
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Michael DeVito: 0-4 Chelsea
The bench (whoever that is at the moment) lights up the Tykes and finally gets the offensive breakout up front that it has been seeking. The forwards need to score. Look for Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Hakim Ziyech and Tammy Abraham to excel in this one.
Varun Dani: 0-4 Chelsea
So far under his reign, Tuchel has had to employ a pragmatic mindset to grind out the right results, but this match represents an opportunity for the German to help the team find its creative edge. Be it a change in shape or redrafting players like Ziyech, the Blues need to find a way to win this game comprehensively.
Olly Smith: 1-5 Chelsea
This is going to be a surprising one, but Barnsley has nothing to lose. With no real expectation that the Blues will lose, Tuchel will change the formation and slot in more attackers and bring a creative flow, which will lead to a back and forth game before the away side’s class gap is made evident. Hopefully Billy Gilmour makes his first appearance under Tuchel, the same for Kurt Zouma. Kai Havertz returning to training means he could feature while Abraham deserves the start and will score two to push for selection in the Premier League. Pulisic, Ziyech and a mystery defender—maybe Emerson—will also score.
Gabe Henderson: 1-4 Chelsea
The Tykes played the Blues close last time out, despite the scoreline. The home side will be rewarded for its efforts with a lone goal the second go around, but its powerhouse visitors will simply be too much to handle.
Travis Tyler: 0-4 Chelsea
The Blues finally click in an attacking sense as they put Barnsley to the sword—again.
Mike Malley: 0-3 Chelsea
Assuming there are no comedic own goals this week, the Blues should be able to keep an easy clean sheet against Barnsley. They looked strong against Tottenham, and while the final scoreline was not dominant, they were in control for nearly 90’. Tuchel has already announced that N’Golo Kante will start in the midfield, but the rest of the team selection is going to be very interesting. I would not be surprised to see a lot of players struggling for confidence in the first XI against the Championship side.
Anthony Gatt: 0-3 Chelsea
The Blues will hope to have repeat performance against Barnsley like they did in September with a straightforward victory and going into the next round of the FA Cup. I expect a lot of rotation with Tuchel giving certain players their chance to prove themselves, Ziyech to be the Man of the Match with a goal and an assist.
Barrett Rouen: 0-4 Chelsea
The Blues win by a lot. Tammy scores because Tammy scores. Havertz plays.
Abhishek Pancholi: 0-5 Chelsea
This game should provide the kind of opposition against whom even Timo Werner could score a goal or three.
Kevin Peacock: 1-3 Chelsea
It’s harsh to assume that because Kepa Arrizabalaga will likely be in goal, Chelsea will concede, but it’s a distinct possibility. However, it’s a game the Blues will still comfortably win. Goals from anyone other than a striker.
Nate Hofmann: 1-2 Chelsea
It will be interesting to see how Tuchel handles his first non-Premier League opponent. You would expect to see plenty of rotation, meaning there should still be plenty of talent up top, but perhaps a shaky backline, plus Arrizabalaga. So, I would bet on a decent attacking return, but an underwhelming defensive performance. Just enough to get the job done.
Scott Brant: 0-3 Chelsea
The Blues should pummel Barnsley with ease. TamTam Abraham and Gilmour to have huge contributions towards the easy victory. On to the next one.
What is your score prediction for the match? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!