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Chelsea verdict: Academy products like Abraham and James lead the way as big-money signings flop at Barnsley

Chelsea have one of the finest academies in world football, and tonight proved just how important this section of the club has become. 

The Blues struggled immensely to see off a stubborn and very intense Barnsley side in the FA Cup to move into the Quarter Finals, but they have to thank the players who were raised at Cobham from a very young age coming up through the ranks. 

Reece James and matchwinner Tammy Abraham were the stars as Chelsea’s youngsters outshone many of their senior players in the 1-0 win at Barnsley

The same academy that produced John Terry, is now the one bringing through players who have become vitally important to the Chelsea first team under Frank Lampard in the last couple of seasons, and now under Thomas Tuchel as well. 

Chelsea have invested heavily in new players over the last few years, but tonight a few of them didn’t show up at all. 

Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic were particularly poor and didn’t stand up to be counted when they were needed. 

Barnsley pressed high throughout the match and gave Chelsea players zero time on the ball. In fact, they were very unlucky to lose the match. 

However, this gave Chelsea some major problems, and Ziyech and Pulisic in particular failed to deal with the physical and intense press of Barnsley. 

So, it was left to the Academy lads to stand up and save Chelsea once again, as they have done so on many occasions in recent seasons. 

Reece James came on and was absolutely superb on the right. But it was Tammy Abraham who was the star of the show and scored the important winning goal, from a James assist. 

But not only did he score and play well, Abraham was at the back putting his body on the line late on heading efforts on goal over the bar on the goal line, and putting himself about making sure Chelsea got the win. 

Tammy Abraham tucked the clincher on 64 minutes from a Reece James cross, following brilliant work from Billy Gilmour

Academy product Billy Gilmour set up Chelsea’s winner for Tammy Abraham

Thomas Tuchel will have learnt much about Chelsea’s character from their hard-fought 1-0 win at Championship side Barnsley

Another Cobham created player Faustino Anjorin came on and helped Chelsea win the match as well with some good touches and physicality.  


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Billy Gilmour is not from the Chelsea academy; however, he has spent a few years playing within the ranks, and he was also heavily involved in anything they did good on the night. 

This just goes to show that these Chelsea academy players are good enough to mix it with the best, and they will continue to be top class players regardless of who the manager is. 

Chelsea were hugely lucky to win the game on the night, but fair play to Tuchel for continuing to show the faith in the youngsters, who won the game for him tonight. 

Chelsea’s stand-in keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, seen thwarting Callum Brittain, will be delighted with his clean sheet in the FA Cup last-16 victory