Chelsea return to Yorkshire, the scene of their 2-1 victory against Sheffield United last Sunday, this time to face Barnsley in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup.
The Tykes are currently mid-table in the Championship and are facing a Chelsea side in the Champions League who are looking to qualify for next season’s competition – but the dangers of underestimating a team because of their league status are there for all to see.
In 2008, and with Chelsea the being last ‘major’ side left in the FA Cup, Avram Grant took his players to Oakwell for the Sixth Round tie with high hopes of securing a place in the last four.
However, the second-tier club well and truly punched above their weight and sent the Stamford Bridge side home with their tails between their legs and embarrassed after losing the game 1-0.
This fixture will be the third meeting between the two clubs in the FA Cup – the first encounter came in 1989 when both sides were plying their trade in Division Two – and Chelsea, managed by Bobby Campbell, were on the wrong end of a Third Round 4-0 hiding.
In 1997 when the Yorkshiremen enjoyed a brief foray into the top tier, their supporters got into the habit of proudly singing, “Brazil, it’s just like watching Brazil!”
Nevertheless, after goals from Dan Petrescu, G*s P*yet and four from Gianluca Vialli, those who’d travelled to Barnsley to support Ruud Gullit’s men ended the day answering the Barnsley crowd by singing, “Chelsea six – Brazil nil, Hallelujah!”
After the pre-match press conference given by Thomas Tuchel, it is generally understood that some of the fringe players in his Chelsea side may well be given an opportunity to play.
I’m hoping that Billy Gilmour might get his first game since the German arrived and, should the young Scot get picked, I’ll be having a bet on him notching his first goal at any time during the game.
About the Author
Londoner David Johnstone is a home, away and European away Chelsea supporter and has missed just six matches since 2001 (although he’s quick to state there are plenty of other supporters with better attendance records than him).
He has been involved with the fanzine scene at Chelsea since around 1991 and started the ‘cfcuk’ fanzine in 1999 which was, until Mr Abramovich bought the club in 2003, named ‘Matthew Harding’s Blue And White Army’.
David was also responsible for forming both the Chelsea Supporters’ Group and the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust which are the main two bodies that represent the followers of Chelsea FC and take their concerns to those running the club.
A founder of the highly regarded Chelsea FanCast weekly podcast (but is no longer involved) and responsible for the crowd surfing banners and supporter displays that are seen in the Matthew Harding Stand at Stamford Bridge on matchday.
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