Barnsley 0-1 Chelsea: Tammy Abraham scores again in the FA Cup to see Blues into quarter-finals

Match report as Tammy Abraham adds to his hat-trick against Luton in the fourth round with a second-half tap in; Chelsea had just one shot in the first half as Barnsley dominated, but were unable to find the net; Chelsea will face Sheffield United at home in the quarter-finals

Tammy Abraham celebrates with Reece James and Billy Gilmour after scoring against Barnsley
Image: Tammy Abraham's goal sent Chelsea into the FA Cup quarter-finals

Tammy Abraham scored his fourth FA Cup goal of the season as Chelsea edged past an impressive Barnsley 1-0 to set up a quarter-final tie against Sheffield United.

The striker had scored a hat-trick against Luton in the fourth round - in what was ultimately Frank Lampard's final game in charge - and found the net again with a close-range finish in the 64th minute, which proved to be Chelsea's only shot on target.

Barnsley pushed their Premier League opponents all the way, particularly in the first half, managing 14 shots to Chelsea's six. Callum Brittain forced a reaction save from Kepa Arrizabalaga early on before Abraham cleared a flicked effort from Michael Sollbauer off the line as the hosts piled on the pressure in the final 15 minutes.

It was an ultimately scrappy performance from a much-changed Chelsea side, but Abraham's goal ensures their place in the quarter-finals and a home tie against Sheffield United in March.

How Barnsley took the game to Chelsea

Barnsley's Callum Brittain sees his shot saved by Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga
Image: Barnsley's Callum Brittain saw his shot saved by Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga early in the game

Barnsley began well and tested Kepa inside 10 minutes. Alex Mowatt gave Callum Hudson-Odoi the slip on the left before lofting a cross into the area. Conor Chaplin headed it on with Brittain waiting inside the six-yard box, but his flicked effort was saved by the Chelsea goalkeeper at close range.

With no VAR in use at Oakwell, Chelsea then had two penalty calls turned down. The first saw Toby Sibbick sweep at the feet of Abraham, but Martin Atkinson waved away the claims. Abraham was involved again soon after, going to ground after a tussle with Mads Andersen, but that was also dismissed.

Player ratings

Barnsley: Collins (6), Brittain (7), Sibbick (7), Helik (7), Andersen (7), Styles (7), Mowatt (7), Kane (7), Chaplin (7), Adeboyejo (6), Woodrow (7).

Subs used: Dike (7), Frieser (6), Williams (6), Palmer (6), Sollbauer (6).

Chelsea: Kepa (7), Emerson (6), Christensen (7), Zouma (7), Alonso (6), Gilmour (7), Kante (7), Hudson-Odoi (7), Ziyech (6), Pulisic (6), Abraham (8).

Subs used: Rudiger (7), James (7), Anjorin (6), Kovacic (6).

Man of the match: Tammy Abraham.

Chelsea did not have many bright moments in the first half, but their best move almost led to a goal. Christian Pulisic drove through the midfield before picking out Hudson-Odoi on the left. His cross flew over the waiting heads in the middle but did find the incoming Pulisic on the right, but he slipped as he connected onto the ball, sending it skewing wide.

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With the last kick of the half, Barnsley could have taken the lead with a well-worked corner that almost caught Chelsea out. Mowatt's delivery was sent back into the area by Chaplin for the waiting Brittain. However, Victor Adeboyejo unwittingly deflected the latter's shot inches past the post.

Team news

  • Barnsley made one change from the side that drew 0-0 with Nottingham Forest. Dominik Frieser dropped to the bench and was replaced by Victor Adeboyejo.
  • Only Andreas Christensen kept his place in ten Chelsea changes, with Billy Gilmour making his first start under Thomas Tuchel. Kepa and Hakim Ziyech also started at Oakwell while N’Golo Kante was named captain.

Unimpressed with a disjointed first-half performance, Thomas Tuchel made two changes at the break, bringing on Antonio Rudiger and Reece James. Although it took them a while to settle, Chelsea soon saw chances fall their way.

Hudson-Odoi dinked past Brittain and Sibbick on the left before firing in a low effort, but the ball wriggled past the far post with Abraham unable to get there in time. Just after, Rudiger nodded a Hakim Ziyech free kick just wide.

Chelsea eventually broke the deadlock as Billy Gilmour slotted James through on the right flank and the full-back delivered a fierce, low cross into the area which Abraham turned home from close range.

Barnsley's Cauley Woodrow has a shot on goal against Chelsea
Image: Barnsley pushed their Premier League opposition all the way

The striker then showed off his defensive prowess as Barnsley refused to go quietly. Mowatt fired in a wonderful free kick, which Sollbauer flicked on with his first touch of the game. However, Abraham was on the line to see the ball onto the top of the net with a header and then cleared the resulting corner.

Barnsley continued to push for what would have been a deserved equaliser, with Kepa making a late save from Michal Helik's ricocheted header off of Emerson, but Chelsea managed to scrap their way into the quarter-finals.

Man of the match - Tammy Abraham

Tammy Abraham celebrates with Reece James after putting Chelsea ahead against Barnsley in the FA Cup fifth round
Image: Tammy Abraham celebrates with Reece James after putting Chelsea ahead against Barnsley

Chelsea would not have made it into the last eight without Abraham at both ends. Of course, he scored the winner with a well-taken tap-in, but his contribution in defence in the final minutes of the game should not be underestimated.

His goal-line clearance was vital, as was his clearance from the corner after. They are just two examples of some superb defending from a player who is turning into a bit of an FA Cup goal machine.

Abraham has been involved in nine goals in his last seven starts in the FA Cup (6 goals, 3 assists) and since the start of last season, has scored 30 goals for Chelsea in all competitions - at least 11 more than any other player at the club.

After the game, Chelsea head coach Tuchel said: "With his goal, you cannot leave out the pass from Billy, the run from Reece so this was a very nice goal and he was at the end of a very good combination. He scores decisive goals in cup games and this was a very decisive goal. His stop on the line was also crucial in that moment. It's good for him because for the strikers, it's most important to score."

What the managers said

Barnsley manager Valerien Ismael said: "The most important thing was the performance to compete at that level. We had a lot of questions before the game - can we force our principles against Chelsea, one of the best teams in the world, and we did it.

"In the first half especially, we were the best team. We had two big chances to score and we have to score. In the second half, Chelsea changed the shape and had more control of the game and we had to adapt. We did it well and after, I think in one moment, we didn't keep the pressure on the ball and they finish us with the goal.

"But after, we kept pushing and we had two big opportunities to score again. I think we stayed true to ourselves and all the people who know Barnsley recognised that and we stayed true to our way of playing football. It's a good feeling for the guys to see that we can compete at that level and to make it really unpleasant for Chelsea.

"I'm really proud of the guys, they gave everything. The belief, the determination in everything we made and this is what you need to make the next step as young players. I think it was an excellent learning process for the guys to see that we made a good performance."

Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea 1:09
Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel admitted his side struggled during their 1-0 FA Cup win over Barnsley

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel said: "We can clearly play better, it was not our best performance. To cope with the difficulties was hard for us, to cope with the pressure, to escape the pressure in our own half.

"We made some changes at half-time and we played better in the second half in a different structure to help the team, they did very well until we scored a very nice goal. After that, the opponent again took a lot of risks, played very aggressive and we had trouble coping with the first challenges or the second balls so in the end it was way too deep for too many minutes.

"We were lucky twice in the first half to have Kepa who saved, we were lucky when Tammy saved us with a header on the line. So in the end, we have to admit we struggled but in the cup, it's sometimes like this so I don't want to be too harsh with the guys. The circumstances were not too easy but we went through and this is the most important thing.

"We cannot expect too much of ourselves, we have to cope with the quality from the opponent, the role that we are the clear favourites and they have nothing to lose. We arrived here and we had many changes, we lacked a little bit of rhythm and when you lack a bit of self-confidence, we cannot expect them to show up and put in their brightest performance.

"But we can clearly do better but I don't want to be too harsh and judge everyone on this performance today. In the end, it's important that we try hard to be better and we did this is. We have a lot of things to improve, but we have this win and from there, we can continue."

Opta stats

  • Since - and including - the year 2000, Chelsea have reached the FA Cup quarter-final more times than any other side, with victory tonight ensuring their 15th appearance in the last eight in that time.
  • Barnsley are the first team Chelsea have eliminated from both major domestic cup competitions within a single season since Manchester United in 2012-13, and the first from a lower division since Bolton Wanderers in 1971-72.
  • No opposition player has scored against Chelsea in 450 minutes of action under manager Thomas Tuchel, with the Blues' only goal conceded under the German coming via an own goal against Sheffield United.

What's next?

Live MNF

Barnsley face a tough trip to Brentford on Sunday in the Sky Bet Championship; kick-off 1pm. Chelsea will be live on Sky Sports on Monday evening when they welcome Newcastle to Stamford Bridge; kick-off 8pm.

Chelsea will face Sheffield United at home in the FA Cup quarter-finals next month.

FA Cup 2020/21 - key dates

The FA Cup schedule has been confirmed, with the final set to take place at Wembley on Saturday, May 15.

There will be no replays this season to help ease fixture congestion.

  • Quarter-finals: Weekend of March 20
  • Semi-finals: Saturday, April 17
  • Final: Saturday, May 15
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