How does a Championship side beat a top Premier League side in a one-off FA Cup tie?
“Sit back and hope for the best!” former Barnsley winger Jamal Campbell-Ryce jokes to talkSPORT.com.
Barnsley beat Norwich to reach the FA Cup fifth round this seasonGetty Images – Getty
And next up for them are a resurgent Chelsea under Thomas TuchelAFP or llicensors AFP or Licensors
“You need loads of luck, you’ve got to be at your best, give MORE than 100 per cent, and hope the team you’re playing has to have an off day too,” he adds.
Not many are giving the Tykes a prayer against Thomas Tuchel’s reinvigorated Chelsea as the two sides meet in the fifth round on Thursday night – with full commentary of the FA Cup clash LIVE on talkSPORT.
However, no one gave Barnsley’s class of 2008 a prayer even though they beat Liverpool at Anfield in the previous round – and they stunned the star-studded Blues in one of the most memorable cup ties of this century.
The likes of Michael Ballack, Joe Cole and Nicolas Anelka couldn’t get their usual game together at a raucous Oakwell, while John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho were ‘bullied’ by match-winner Kayode Odejayi, according to his former teammate Bobby Hassell.
Florent Malouda didnt fancy this 50-50 with HassellGetty Images – Getty
Hassell celebrates with a fan at the end of the match. The magic of the cup!AFP – Getty
It really was your classic fairy tale FA Cup moment as Odejayi leapt above Chelsea’s defence to net his first goal in 29 appearances for the club.
But the goal and the tactics utilised by Simon Davey’s side were quite simple, as ex-Tykes defender Hassell explains.
“We just tried to frustrate them as much as possible,” Hassell tells talkSPORT.com. “Go up and down the sides and get that long ball into the box.
“They didn’t manage to penetrate through us at all, and we probably had the better chances throughout the game and scored on the counter-attack thanks to a header from Kayode.
“As silly as it sounds, John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho wouldn’t have been used to coming up against direct, big forwards in the Premier League. It’s a different style. Kayode probably had his best game in a Barnsley shirt. In the first half the defenders tried to wrestle with Kayode but he bullied them.”
What a time to end a barren goalscoring runAFP – Getty
Odejayi’s goal proved to be the winnerAFP – Getty
There were incredible scenes at Oakwell at the end of the 2008 tieAFP – Getty
The final whistle sparked scenes you’d expect at the end of a memorable FA Cup tie as fans ran on the pitch to congratulate their heroes.
But the scenes in the dressing room weren’t as celebratory as they could’ve been, reveal Campbell-Ryce and Hassell, as fear of relegation was in the back of their minds despite their magic cup run.
And although Barnsley managed to stay up, their cup run came to a disappointing end as they were beaten by Cardiff, who were also in the Championship, in the semi-finals at Wembley.
This tie will have a different feel to it as the class of 2021 shouldn’t have the threat of relegation to worry about being eight points clear of the drop zone.
Meanwhile, Valerien Ismael’s side have had a more understated progression to this stage of the competition, although beating Championship table-toppers Norwich shouldn’t be sniffed at.
Barnsley actually faced Chelsea earlier this season as they met in the Carabao Cup, but the Tykes were thrashed 6-0 at Stamford Bridge.
It would be easy for Barnsley to resort to shut-up shop tactics for Thursday’s clash but Hassell, who now works as the club’s Academy Manager, believes Ismael’s side will have a go.
“I think they have every chance just like we had,” he finishes. “Chelsea coming up here on a Thursday night, the temperature’s likely going to be -3 or -4 at kick-off time.
“Chelsea have got a new manager and made a good start under him but they’ll try to play in the correct manner but we love to press. Barnsley can get in their faces.”
The stage is most certainly set for yet another FA Cup shock.
talkSPORT brings you full LIVE commentary of Barnsley vs Chelsea in the FA Cup fifth round, kick-off 8pm