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What we learnt from Chelsea on Thursday night

2 weeks ago
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It is Chelsea next up for Newcastle United.

An 8pm kick-off on Monday night at Stamford Bridge.

Fair to say, any point(s) would be seen as a bonus for Newcastle from this match, though no reason at all why United shouldn’t be having a right go at them.

Chelsea have only won five of their eleven Premier League home games this season, failing to beat Liverpool, Man City, Southampton, Wolves, Tottenham and Southampton.

That 0-0 draw at home to Wolves was Thomas Tuchel’s first game in charge but since then he has overseen wins over Burnley, Spurs and Sheffield United.

With 10 points from four Premier League games, five goals scored and only one conceded, it has been a solid start for the Tuchel, very efficient and clinical, after Chelsea had been on a run of five defeats, one draw and only two wins in the eight PL matches before he came in.

Those results swiftly taking Chelsea from mid-table to fifth, only one point behind Liverpool in fourth, six behind second placed Man Utd.

Thursday night saw Thomas Tuchel experience FA Cup football for the first time.

His Chelsea team winning 1-0 away at Barnsley on a bitterly cold night, a game / result that looks very much like just a continuation of his Premier League form so far.

So what does it tell us, if anything, ahead of Newcastle United facing Chelsea on Monday?

Well, when you scratch under the surface, it was an interesting match for various reasons BUT it probably told Newcastle fans absolutely nothing.

Thomas Tuchel made ten changes to his Premier League team, though when this is Chelsea, it wasn’t exactly a weak looking team with their squad of riches.

Six of their players alone having cost £237m (according to Transfermarkt stats), those half dozen being Kepa, Pulisic, Ziyech, Alonso, Kante and Emerson.

Despite this Chelsea second team costing hundreds of millions more than the hosts, it was Barnsley who were the better and more dangerous team for much of the game, despite Chelsea having loads of (largely non-threatening) possession.

The match stats (BBC Sport) show that Barnsley had more shots (14 v 6), more on target (4 v 1) and more corners (7 v 2).

It was a homegrown Tammy Abraham who scored the winner with Chelsea’s only shot on target, taking the West London side into the quarter-finals, as usual, only four times in now 16 seasons have Chelsea failed to reach the quarter-finals (sixth round), getting to seven of these last fifteen finals and winning the competition five times. Yet Chelsea fans get sympathy from the media when the complain after losing two or three matches and calling for the manager’s head yet again!

The FA Cup draw for the quarters / sixth round on Thursday night was:

Chelsea v Sheffield United

Bournemouth v Southampton

Everton v Man City

Leicester v Man Utd

Newcastle fans thinking what might have have been…if only they had beaten Arsenal, who then lost 1-0 at Southampton, the Saints then beating Wolves 2-0 away from home last night, now only having to beat Championship side Bournemouth for a semi-final at Wembley.

For Newcastle United supporters of course, we are allowed to yet again simply concentrate on a Premier League relegation battle.

In the Premier League, Thomas Tuchel appears to have Chelsea already operating as a bit of a ruthless machine, only one goal conceded in four PL games and offering up very few chances, in those four matches the opposition have only had a total of five efforts on target in over six hours of football.

Newcastle United go into the match without their only goalscorer, Callum Wilson out for the next couple of months at least.

If NUFC can find a goal then they could well be in business against a Chelsea side not scoring too many, so far, the only question is – where will that goal come from?

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