Chelsea recovered from a slow start to beat Barnsley 1-0 through a Tammy Abraham goal and set up a home FA Cup quarter-final tie against Sheffield United. Here’s how we rated each Blues player in the victory at Oakwell.
Kepa Arrizabalaga: 6
He got his positioning spot on to make a sensational close-range save to deny Callum Brittain in the first half and did well with his distribution on an abysmal playing surface. But he was lucky to get away with a late flap at a free-kick that led to Abraham clearing off the line.
Andreas Christensen: 6
The Dane was steady and resolute and did a passable impersonation of John Terry by trying to win possession with his head while lying on the floor, a move that resulted in a whack to the head and a few shaky moments and may have been behind his half-time substitution.
Kurt Zouma: 7
Zouma’s physical presence and aerial ability was vital – particularly before the break and in the latter stages as the Tykes piled men forward and pumped the ball forward at every opportunity.
A surprise inclusion at left centre-half, Emerson had a nervy start but recovered well enough and looked far happier when he switched to left-back after Thomas Tuchel changed things at half-time.
Callum Hudson-Odoi: 7
The England winger was Chelsea’s most likely source of a goal in the first half without every really getting into full flow but understandably posed more goal threat and saw more of the ball when freed of most of his defensive duties after the interval.
N’Golo Kante: 7
Chelsea’s captain for the night played with more tempo following the the second-half tactical reshuffle, bringing much-needed urgency in midfield areas and playing with greater instinct and purpose.
Billy Gilmour: 6
The Scot showed all his normal willingness to accept the ball in tight areas early on as Barnsley pressed the back three and midfield relentlessly and the confidence remained even though he was not as sure-footed in his passing as on previous appearances.
Marcos Alonso: 6
Alonso defended impressively, covering Emerson on several occasions. But he had little chance to feature in attacking areas before being replaced at the break.
Hakim Ziyech: 5
An old-school pitch full of ruts, patches and divots severely hindered Chelsea’s attempts to get the ball down and play. Ziyech’s quality was only fleetingly on display although he set up a couple of promising attacks that came to nothing.
Christian Pulisic: 5
Like Ziyech there were flashes of his quality, in the American’s case a couple of darting run. Pulisic put in a decent shift, but his final ball deserted him and he made little impact on a horrible pitch and tricky evening.
Tammy Abraham: 9
Abraham was sharp on the turn and reliable in his link-up play and should have won a penalty when he was fouled before the break. He fully deserved his goal – busting a gut to get on the end of a simple two-yard tap-in from a super Reece James cross from the right and capped an excellent individual display with a wonderful goal-line clearance.
Antonio Rudiger: 8
This FA Cup tie seemed perfectly suited to Rudiger and he showed that to be the case on his second-half introduction, playing a big part in raising the tempo with some typically fierce challenges and almost scoring with near-post header from a free-kick.
Reece James: 8
The second of two half-time substitutes, James more than matched Barnsley’s physicality and set up the winner with a fine run and cross.
Tino Anjorin: 6
He got just over 20 minutes to make an impression in his fifth senior appearance in a Blues shirt and looked comfortable, with a couple of neat turns and purposeful runs.
Mateo Kovacic: 6
Came on for the final 10 minutes to help shut up shop and did just that.