Thomas Tuchel has been true to his word and made several changes to his Chelsea side for tonight’s FA Cup fifth round tie with Barnsley.
Kepa Arriazbalaga, as Tuchel confirmed yesterday, starts for the Blues at Oakwell.
It is the Spaniard’s first appearance since the fourth-round win against Luton Town and his first outing under Tuchel. “I want him to do a normal match,” the German coach said ahead of the game.
“Kepa does not have to show me or anybody else he is ready to be Spain’s number one in the summer. He just has to show his quality. Not more or less.
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“So we have to manage expectations. I don’t expect him to score and keep a clean sheet. I just want him to help us with his quality and he gives a solid performance to help the team.”
Kurt Zouma makes his first appearance under Thomas Tuchel. Andreas Christensen and Emerson Palmieri make up the rest of the back three.
Callum Hudson-Odoi starts at right wing-back. On the opposite flank is Marcos Alonso.
In midfield, Billy Gilmour is given his first minutes under Tuchel and N’Golo Kante starts for the first time since the defeat to Manchester City on January 3.
“For me, his (Kante’s) best position is in a double six. He can play as a single six, of course, but a strength for him is to have a kind of freedom to use his range and volume.
“As a single six, as in a 4-1-4-1, he has to be more disciplined in his position. He can do this but I think we would be cutting his wings a little bit.”
Hakim Ziyech returns to the team – he has not featured in the last three matches – while and Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham complete the attack
Confirmed Chelsea side vs Barnsley: Kepa; Zouma, Christensen, Emerson; Hudson-Odoi, Gilmour, Kante, Alonso; Ziyech, Abraham, Pulisic
Chelsea subs: Caballero, Azpilicueta, Rudiger,…