Chelsea’s win under Thomas Tuchel continued with a narrow win over Barnsley to reach an FA Cup quarter-finals with Sheffield United.
The Barnsley team was the better team in the first half. Kepa Arrizabalaga blocked Callum Brittain’s attempt to play at close range.
Chelsea, who made 10 changes, had the breakthrough when Tammy Abraham knocked home after Reece James’ pass.
Abraham only held his run to make sure he was on his side from close range.
Chelsea are unbeaten in five games since Tuchel in January and will entertain Sheffield United in their sixth round over the weekend of March 20-21.
Chelsea’s fringes struggle to impress
Chelsea were ninth in the Premier League when Tuchel took command but are now one point below their top four and two wins from a fourth FA Cup final in five seasons.
This was a chance for Tuchel to take a close look at his fringe players for the first time, but they struggled to impress – and failed to score in a disjointed first half.
Kepa, who was downgraded by previous boss Frank Lampard in favor of Edouard Mendy, kept his side in a tie with a beautiful save to keep Brittain away, who should have scored after Alex Mowatt’s cross was shot in his way.
In addition to Kepa, Emerson Palmieri, Kurt Zouma and 19-year-old midfielder Billy Gilmour appeared for the first time under Tuchel, while Christian Pulisic and N’Golo Kante started for the first time since the German switched.
Brittain came close after a shot through a sea of legs, while Chelsea’s only meaningful attack in the first half resulted in Pulisic sending Callum Hudson-Odoi’s cross wide.
The winning goal came from a beautiful move with Gilmour in heart. The ball eventually came to James, who met Abraham for his 12th goal of the season.
Even then, Chelsea had to endure nervously against an impressive, energetic Barnsley team.
Substitute Michael Sollbauer was on the verge of equalizing, only for Abraham to make his purposeful attempt clear as Chelsea lived dangerously.
Barnsley will return to the championship on Sunday (13:00 GMT) in Brentford while Chelsea host Newcastle United in the Premier League on Monday (20:00).
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- 20thSibbickReplaced bySollbauerat the 76 ‘protocol
- 7thBrittainReplaced byWilliamsat the 73 ‘protocol
- 8thKaneReplaced byPalmerat the 73 ‘protocol
- 29AdeboyejoReplaced byDikeat the 59 ‘protocol
- 11ChaplinReplaced byFrieserat the 59 ‘protocol
- 4thChristensenReplaced byRudigerat the 45 ‘protocol
- 3AlonsoReplaced byJamesat the 45 ‘protocol
- 22ndZiyechReplaced byAnjorinat the 69 ‘protocol
- 10PulisicReplaced byKovacicat the 80 ‘protocol
End of the game, Barnsley 0, Chelsea 1.
The second half ends, Barnsley 0, Chelsea 1.
Tammy Abraham (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Michal Helik (Barnsley).
Foul by Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea).
Alex Mowatt (Barnsley) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Offside Chelsea. Kepa Arrizabalaga attempts a pass, but Tammy Abraham is caught offside.
Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Michal Helik (Barnsley).
Corner, Barnsley. The corner was created by Tammy Abraham.
Off to Barnsley. Michael Sollbauer attempts a pass, but Daryl Dike is caught offside.
Attempt blocked. Cauley Woodrow (Barnsley) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Prepared by Daryl Dike.
Attempt blocked. Daryl Dike (Barnsley) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.
Attempt saved. Cauley Woodrow’s (Barnsley) header from the center of the penalty area is saved in the center of the goal. Assisted by Alex Mowatt with a cross.
Foul by Billy Gilmour (Chelsea).
Alex Mowatt (Barnsley) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Tammy Abraham (Chelsea).
Romal Palmer (Barnsley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Reece James (Chelsea).
Cauley Woodrow (Barnsley) wins a free kick on the left wing.