Chelsea edges past Barnsley to reach FA Cup quarterfinals

Tammy Abraham stars in Chelsea's hard-fought 1-0 win over Barnsley.

Tammy Abraham clears the ball off the goal-line. - REUTERS

Chelsea reached the FA Cup quarterfinals with a hard-fought 1-0 win at Championship side Barnsley on Thursday settled by a goal from centre forward Tammy Abraham as the Blues notched up their fourth win in five games under new manager Thomas Tuchel.

Abraham also denied Barnsley a late equaliser when he stretched to get a head to substitute Michael Sollbauer’s goal-bound flick.

The Londoners started with 10 changes from their last Premier League match and struggled to find any rhythm in the first half as Barnsley, mid-table in England’s second tier, refused to be cowed by their big-name opponents.

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The host created the better chances and Tuchel responded at halftime by switching to four in defence, bringing on full back Reece James to replace Marcos Alonso and centre half Antonio Rudiger for Andreas Christensen who had suffered a head injury.

The decisions paid off in the 64th minute when James, fed by 19-year-old Billy Gilmour, raced into space and his cross set up Abraham for an easy finish.

 

“I knew that chance was going to come eventually and I just had to be in the right place at the right time,” Abraham told the BBC.

He said his goalline clearance harked back to his childhood days as a defender.

“I saw the ball come in and I said ‘I have to do this, I have to try something’, and it worked.”

Missed chances

Barnsley was left to rue missed chances in the first half when Callum Brittain shot straight at Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga from close range and another Brittain shot was deflected just wide.

 

As well as Tuchel’s fourth victory since he replaced Frank Lampard last month, it was the fourth clean sheet for the Blues under the German who praised the players who stepped into the side.

“If you lack a rhythm and a bit of self-confidence and you have to show on this pitch, against an opponent that takes all the risk and plays the game of his life, that is not easy,” Tuchel said. “We can do better but I don’t want to be too hard on the players.”

Chelsea, which lost last year’s FA Cup final to Arsenal, will host Sheffield United in the sixth round, having beaten the Yorkshire side twice in the league this season, including last week’s 2-1 away win.

Man City faces Everton, Man United at Leicester

Premier League leader Manchester City will travel to Everton and Manchester United goes to Leicester City in the FA Cup quarterfinals following the draw on Thursday.

Everton, who beat Tottenham Hotspur 5-4 in a thrilling match on Wednesday, will host Pep Guardiola's City, which set a top- flight record with a 15th straight victory in all competitions when it beat Championship Swansea City 3-1.

City last won the Cup in 2019 when it became the first team to win the English domestic treble.

Manchester United will take on fellow league title contender Leicester. United, which last won the FA Cup in 2016, is bidding to win the trophy for the 13th time.

Second tier Bournemouth will host fellow south coast club Southampton, which won 2-0 away at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Thursday to make the last eight.

The matches will be played on the weekend of March 20-21.

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