Preview: Barnsley vs. Chelsea

Chelsea will be looking to maintain their positive start to life under Thomas Tuchel when they take on Barnsley in the FA Cup last 16 on Thursday evening.

The Blues travel to Oakwell on the back of three wins and a draw since Tuchel took over from Frank Lampard, while Barnsley are unbeaten in three Championship outings.
It has not taken Tuchel long to restore some confidence among Chelsea fans, the German having lifted his new side back up to fifth in the Premier League with a three-game winning run.

The most recent of those victories came away to Sheffield United by a 2-1 scoreline on Monday evening, with Jorginho scoring what proved to be the winner from the penalty spot.

It was the second game running where the Italy international had proved the difference in a league game, having also kept his cool from 12 yards in the 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur.

Chelsea have momentum on their side heading into this last-16 tie, then, against a Barnsley side positioned mid-table in the Championship with 10 wins and 11 losses from 27 games.

The Tykes drew 0-0 with Nottingham Forest last time out, three days on from squandering a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Cardiff City.
However, sitting nine points off the playoffs with a game in hand on sixth-placed Bournemouth, Valerien Ismael’s men are still in with a shot of promotion.

For now, though, all focus is on the FA Cup and this prestige clash with Premier League opposition Chelsea.
History is certainly on Barnsley’s side, too, as they have won both of their previous meetings with the Blues in this competition – 4-0 in 1989 and 1-0 in the 2008 quarter-finals.

Since beating Liverpool and Chelsea en route to reaching the semis in 2007-08, however, the Yorkshire club have lost five in a row against top-flight sides by a 15-2 aggregate scoreline.

Chelsea, by comparison, have been eliminated from the FA Cup by lower-division teams just twice in their last 54 ties, with Bradford City the other club on that short list alongside Barnsley.

Last season’s finalists eased past Morecambe and Luton Town to reach this stage, while Barnsley have eliminated Tranmere Rovers and Norwich City without conceding a goal.

Barnsley FA Cup form: WW
Barnsley form (all competitions): WLLWDD

Chelsea FA Cup form: WW
Chelsea form (all competitions): LWDWWW

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