Academy Graduate Stars, As Big Money Players Flops.
Until Tammy Abraham’s 64th-minute goal, Chelsea were second best against mid-table Championship side Barnsley in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Thomas Tuchel was left ranting and raving on the touchline with history looking like it would repeat itself; Chelsea lost their last appearance at Oakwell in 2008.
But, in the end, the Blues’ academy stars saved the day in a 1-0 victory.
Billy Gilmour picked up the ball in the half-space and released Reece James down the right. The full-back’s explosive run put him in position to provide Abraham with a tap-in.
Before that moment, aside from a penalty shout that was waved away, Chelsea were dominated by Valerien Ismael’s upstarts.
Tuchel faced the same problems that departed manager Frank Lampard had faced, with his side appearing weak at the back. The new boss made 10 changes from his 2-1 away win at Sheffield United in the Premier League at the weekend, and the lack of continuity showed.
Right now, the biggest concern is that the big-money signings who had failed to impress late in Lampard’s reign continue to struggle.
Most notably, Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech underwhelmed in South Yorkshire. Final balls were misplaced when the duo had the opportunities to get into a game that otherwise passed them by.
Much of the focus in Lampard’s final days was on his inability to get the best out of his £120 million ($166m) German talents Kai Havertz and Timo Werner.