Aston Villa eye the chance to make it to the fifth round of the FA Cup for the first time since 2014/15 as they host a faltering Chelsea in this evenings fourth round replay, with Leeds the awaiting opponent.
The sides last met in the original tie 12 days ago as the pair played out a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge. Since their last meeting the hosts succumbed to a 3-1 loss to Newcastle at home in the Premier League, their first home defeat in 16 matches, but then dismantled a struggling Sheffield United, 5-0 in a rather convincing display. Chelsea on the other hand have since lost heavily to Liverpool, 4-1 at Anfield and then most recently losing to Wolves at home 4-2. With Aston Villa in 4th and Chelsea in 11th the sides are separated by 15 points in the Premier League, however league position means nothing in the FA Cup.
The last time they faced off in the Premier League was early on in the season when Aston Villa were 1-0 victors away from home courtesy of an Ollie Watkins strike late in the second half. Malo Gusto was sent off in the 58th minute, controversially, and Chelsea played the remainder of the match with ten men.
Aston Villa have won the worlds oldest domestic cup competition seven times compared to Chelsea’s tally of eight. Chelsea in fact reached three successive FA Cup finals between 2020-22 but lost out in the final on every occasion. Whilst Chelsea have reached the final five times in the past seven years they’ve only been successful on one of those occasions, the 1-0 victory of Manchester United in the 2017/18 season thanks to an Eden Hazard penalty.
Chelsea, the first Football League club from the capital to reach an FA Cup final (1914/15), is the only London-based club left in the competition.
Aston Villa defeated Middlesbrough 1-0, Chelsea put away Preston 4-0 to get to this stage of the competition.
The two sides met in the 2000 FA Cup final, the last to be played at the old Wembley, with Chelsea emerging as 1-0 winners.
Aston Villa Team News
Ezri Konsa has been ruled out for 3-4 weeks having sustained a knee injury during their most recent match with Sheffield United.
Pau Torres is set to return to the bench whilst Nicolo Zaniola is back to full fitness.
Lucas Digne and Jhon Duran remain unavailable and join long term absentees Tyrone Mings and Emi Buendia.
Chelsea Team News
Levi Colwill is expected to remain out as he continues his recovery from injury.
Trevoh Chalobah continues to build is fitness at Cobham after having a number of months out.
With eight goals conceded in the last two games, the Chelsea head coach may feel it’s time for a tactical change.
Unai Emery as he reflects on the initial tie, “I expect a good Chelsea. We drew there but we struggled in the first half a lot, they were better than us. Progressively in the second half we were imposing our ideas, our gameplan, and we had chances as well to score and to win. But we didn’t deserve it. And they deserved more in the first half, it was a fantastic job by Emi Martínez, and defensively as well the team worked very well.”
“I expect the best Chelsea because they got to the Carabao Cup final. For them, this competition is very important as well because they are not in Europe. And they have a very good coach.”
Mauricio Pochettino on gaining that connection with the fans after a run of poor results, “The players suffer a lot when they are not performing, they feel that responsibility.”
“They are desperate to receive love from the fans but they understand the situation.”
“When we don’t perform or get the result, it’s normal there is criticism from supporters. So, this is something we need to create together and I think the team will achieve that. The players need to feel the engagement with the fans, their energy, and that depends on us to show the right energy in every single game we play.”