Gilmour and Kante to start
Billy Gilmour is likely to get a first chance to shine as head coach Thomas Tuchel makes good on his promise to rotate his squad against Barnsley in the FA Cup fifth round on Thursday.
Tuchel has said there is no chance of Chelsea, who are eight-time winners of the FA Cup, taking the competition lightly, and although he has promised changes the team will reflect his desire to go one better than they did in finishing as runners-up to Arsenal last season.
Tuchel has confirmed N’Golo Kante will start at Oakwell, and with Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic due a rest, teenage midfielder Gilmour is likely to feature for the first time under the German and partner Kante in the “double six” role.
Goalkeeper Kepa is another confirmed starter and centre-half Kurt Zouma is set for a first outing under Tuchel. Thiago Silva’s continued absence means Andreas Christensen will surely continue as the ball-player of the trio.
And – with Cesar Azpilicueta also due a break – Reece James may well get a chance to show he can play in a back three.
Callum Hudso-Odoi and either Emerson or Ben Chilwell will most likely fill the wing-back positions. Chilwell played against Sheffield United having lost his place to Marcos Alonso and will be eager to continue while Emerson has only made ten appearances this season.
Winger Hakim Ziyech will occupy one of the forward berths and Christian Pulisic should start. And with Timo Werner missing out because of a dead leg, Tammy Abraham seems sure to get the nod ahead of Olivier Giroud as the central striker.
Expected Chelsea line-up: