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Preview: Barnsley vs. Chelsea - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's FA Cup clash between Barnsley and Chelsea, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

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.


Match preview

Chelsea's Jorginho celebrates scoring against Sheffield United in the Premier League on February 7, 2021© Reuters

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.

Barnsley's Callum Styles celebrates scoring their first goal on January 23, 2021© Reuters

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


Team News

Chelsea's Tammy Abraham celebrates scoring against Luton Town in the FA Cup on January 24, 2021© Reuters

Tuchel has opted for a back five since succeeding Lampard and that has worked to good effect, but he may elect to go with a four-man defence on Thursday evening.

Thiago Silva will be absent at Oakwell due to a hamstring injury, but Timo Werner and Kai Havertz are expected to shake off knocks to at least be part of the squad.

Winger Christian Pulisic missed the win over Sheffield United for personal reasons and it remains to be seen if he will be available for this cup tie.

Up top, Tammy Abraham will be hopeful of a recall as he looks to build on a return of eight goal involvements in his last six FA Cup starts (five goals, three assists).

As for the hosts, they have had nearly two weeks off due to their league clash with Derby County last weekend being called off because of a waterlogged pitch.

Ismael will hope to have some of his injured players back, but the likes of Aapo Halme, Ben Williams and Liam Kitching are all likely to miss out.

Cauley Woodrow has nine goals in 23 Championship appearances this season and should lead the line, with Victor Adeboyejo and Dominik Frieser either side.

Barnsley possible starting lineup:
Collins; Sibbick, Helik, Andersen; Brittain, Mowatt, Palmer, Styles; Frieser, Woodrow, Adeboyejo

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Kepa; James, Christensen, Zouma, Chilwell; Havertz, Kante, Gilmour; Ziyech, Abraham, Hudson-Odoi


SM words green background

We say: Barnsley 0-2 Chelsea

Chelsea have been in good form over the past few weeks, winning four and drawing one of their last five matches.

Tuchel is expected to make changes to his starting lineup on Thursday, but whatever side he fields should have enough strength to see off Barnsley.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Away Win:data


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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool64201541114
2Manchester CityMan City64111211113
3Chelsea64111221013
4Manchester UnitedMan Utd6411135813
5Everton6411127513
6Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton641185313
7West Ham UnitedWest Ham6321138511
8Aston Villa631297210
9Brentford62318539
10Arsenal6303510-59
11Tottenham HotspurSpurs630349-59
12Watford621379-27
13Leicester CityLeicester6213710-37
14Wolverhampton WanderersWolves620435-26
15Crystal Palace613269-36
16Southampton604247-34
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle6033714-73
18Leeds UnitedLeeds6033614-83
19Burnley6024511-62
20Norwich CityNorwich6006216-140

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