Thomas Tuchel takes his first step out of the Premier League jungle as Chelsea travel to Barnsley for a FA Cup fifth-round clash.

Chelsea have played four league fixtures without interruption under their new manager without tasting defeat.

A trip to Oakwell Stadium will present an altogether different task and this historic competition is no stranger to throwing up an upset.

Tuchel’s consistent rotation of his squad can be taken to another level with an even greater opportunity to give some of his fringe players a run out.  

Kepa Arrizabalaga certainly slots into that category. He is now Chelsea’s customary cup ‘keeper having relinquished his no.1 spot to Eduard Mendy.

Expect Tuchel to stick with a 3-4-2-1 formation. In his three-man defence will see the return of almost forgotten man Kurt Zouma.

Chelsea Training Session
COBHAM, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 09: Antonio Rüdiger and Kurt Zouma of Chelsea during a warm down training session at Chelsea Training Ground on February 9, 2021 in Cobham, England. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

He was a Chelsea regular until Frank Lampard dropped him at the beginning of January and has since only played against Morecambe and Luton Town.

Andreas Christensen keeps his place after excelling as Thiago Silva’s understudy. Cesar Azpilicueta is the soul survivor of Tuchel’s favoured back line.  

Marcos Alonso makes his way back to left-wing back with Callum Hudson-Odoi on the opposing flank. Chelsea should dominate the contest and will need Hudson-Odoi’s invention to try break down Barnsley.

N’Golo Kante breaks his Tuchel duct in central midfield. Chelsea’s highest earner of £100,000-per-week (Telegraph) is yet to start for the German having only recently recovered from injury.

FBL-ENG-PR-SHEFFIELD UTD-CHELSEA
Chelsea’s German head coach Thomas Tuchel (C) hugs Chelsea’s French midfielder N’Golo Kante (L) at the end of the match during the English Premier League football match between Sheffield United and Chelsea at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, northern England on February 7, 2021. – Chelsea won the game 2-1. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by OLI SCARFF/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Partnering Kante may be Billy Gilmour. The young Scotland star has rarely seen the light of day on a football pitch. This is a perfect opening for him to prove his ability to Tuchel.

29-year-old Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic are given a well-earned rest having featured in all four of Chelsea’s games for the German coach.

Chelsea’s forward line should also take a different form. Christian Pulisic plays his maiden match for Tuchel on the right.

Chelsea Training Session
COBHAM, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 09: Christian Pulisic of Chelsea during a warm down training session at Chelsea Training Ground on February 9, 2021 in Cobham, England. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Hakim Ziyech’s reintroduction after injury lay off will please Blues fans greatly as they await more of his Moroccan magic.

The final piece of the puzzle is Tammy Abraham.

Chelsea’s top scorer this season netted a hattrick in the previous round at home to Luton but needs to impress Tuchel if he is to get a run in the side.

Chelsea predicted XI vs Barnsley: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Zouma; Alonso, Kante, Gilmour, Hudson-Odoi; Pulisic, Abraham, Ziyech

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