'Man of the match': Some Chelsea fans praise 26-year-old who made 66 passes against Barnsley

Chelsea followers wanted to compliment Kepa Arrizabalaga for his Chelsea performance against Barnsley in the FA Cup last night.

The Blues scrapped past their Championship opponents by a singular Tammy Abraham goal after an hour of struggling to break down Barnsley.

There were very few standouts from Thomas Tuchel’s heavily rotated side.

Reece James had a decent impact off the bench by assisting Abraham’s winner.

BBC Sport named the Chelsea striker as their Man of the Match. Callum Hudson-Odoi and Billy Gilmour showed glimpses of their talent.

But it was Kepa who earned the majority of praise from Blues supporters on social media.

Although the 26-yeara-old Spaniard was rarely troubled all evening, he did make one huge first a half save that denied Barnsley a glorious chance to go in front.

Kepa was making his just his seventh start the season and could’ve easily let his concentration slip.

Photo by Alex Dodd – CameraSport via Getty Images

Thankfully for Tuchel, he was alert to the threat and managed to block Barnsley’s attempt.

He also demonstrated his clear ability on the ball by making 66 passes throughout the evening. This was more than Abraham, Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech (WhoScored.com).

It probably won’t be until the quarter final fixture versus Sheffield United in the middle of March that Chelsea fans see Kepa again.

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I was really pleased to see the reaction to Kepa on Twitter yesterday. It really was a poor Chelsea display and very few left Oakwell with their head held high.

He was one of them and deserved all the credit he got. Without his save, the Blues may not have gone through.

Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.