3 things Thomas Tuchel got wrong in Chelsea’s narrow FA Cup win over Barnsley
Chelsea survived a scare to overcome Barnsley and book their place in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
Thomas Tuchel named a strong Blues side but the Premier League giants were second best against their Championship opponents in the opening period.
The boss made two half-time substitutions and it paid off as Reece James, introduced for the second period, teed up Tammy Abraham to score the only goal of the game.
Barnsley knocked on the door for an equaliser, with Abraham proving the hero at the other end by clearing an attempt off the line, and the visitors held on for a hard-fought win.
But, despite the triumph, there were three standout mistakes made by Tuchel…
1. Defensive shake-up backfires
Tuchel opted for an unfamiliar defence against Barnsley – and was forced into making half-time substitutions after an underwhelming opening period.
A central three of Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma and Emerson started the game, flanked by Callum Hudson-Odoi and Marcos Alonso as full-backs.
But Christensen and Alonso were hauled off before the restart, with Toni Rudiger and James thrown on to help the Blues avoid an FA Cup exit.
Indeed,James played a vital role in this win but the Blues struggled in the first half, suggesting Tuchel got his starting XI wrong.
2. Forwards misfire
While the Blues have been getting results under Tuchel, their attacking performances continue to raise eyebrows.
Before Thursday night's FA Cup showdown, Chelsea's attackers had failed to register a goal since Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard as manager.
And while Abraham ended that barren run, his team-mates Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech endured a tough time out there.
It raises the question; how does Tuchel get the best out of his attackers? He's worked with some great strikers at Borussia Dortmund and PSG – but appears to have his work cut out in London.
3. Too much respect?
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Tuchel took charge of his first FA Cup game – and he was given a rude awakening.
Barnsley may sit mid-table in the second tier of English football but the Championship side matched Chelsea for large parts of this game.
The Blues boss can't be accused of naming a weak team, as his line-up was jam-packed with international stars, but perhaps he respected Barnsley a bit too much.
The hosts were given too much license to attack in the first half and they can count themselves lucky that they survived this scare and booked their place in the quarter-finals.
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