Predicting the side Thomas Tuchel will pick for Chelsea’s FA Cup fifth-round tie against Barnsley is not easy. Fortunately, the German coach has already revealed several starters.
The trip to Oakwell is an ideal opportunity for Tuchel to give the lesser-used members of the first-team squad game time. But he won’t be taking the Championship side lightly.
We already know Kepa Arrizabalaga will continue in his role as FA Cup goalkeeper. Tuchel confirmed that would be the case at his pre-match press conference yesterday.
“It’s [goalkeeper] a very special position in football,” the Chelsea head coach explained.
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“Of course, it’s a very decisive position, it has its own rules. If you make mistakes everybody sees them and talks about them.
“So you need a lot of mental strength and quality and I see this in all three of our goalkeepers. Kepa has a chance tomorrow and I hope he can show what he shows in training.”
Ahead of the Spaniard should be Kurt Zouma, who has yet to make an appearance under Tuchel, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger.
Chelsea’s head coach has a decision to make at right wing-back. Callum Hudson-Odoi could be brought into the side to fill the role once more but Reece James is likely to start against the Tykes.
Emerson Palmieri should be deployed on the opposite flank and get his first minutes since Tuchel’s appointment.
The midfield will be made up of Billy Gilmour and N’Golo Kante. The French star is still feeling his way back from injury but has the complete faith and trust of Tuchel.
“He will start tomorrow and, for me, his 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…