Chelsea is on the brink of another crisis and aims to fix their Premier League issues in the FA Cup. They face Aston Villa on Wednesday for a fourth-round replay.
After a 0-0 draw in West London, the teams meet again at Villa Park. The winner will play either Leeds United or Plymouth Argyle midweek.
Before facing Aston Villa in their knockout game on January 26, Chelsea had fortified their Stamford Bridge stronghold. Despite having more ball control, neither team scored enough to move directly to round five.
The uneventful match in the capital was Aston Villa’s second in a trio of games without a win. They had slightly fallen off the Premier League title race before playing Sheffield United over the weekend, gaining only one point from matches against Everton and Newcastle United.
Yet, Aston Villa boosted their Champions League chances with a dominant 5-0 win at Bramall Lane. They scored four goals in the first half-hour, and Alex Moreno finished with a fantastic volley.
With Arsenal defeating Liverpool, Villa, now in fourth place, is only five points behind the leaders. Now, their manager, who has won the Europa League multiple times, must focus on winning in the cup again.
By beating Middlesbrough in their first FA Cup game, Aston Villa achieved their best result since 2015-16. They had been eliminated in the third round seven times before this season. However, they haven’t gone past round four since losing to Arsenal in the 2014-15 final.
Chelsea comes to Villa Park after losing by four goals in London, similar to their loss nine years ago at Wembley.
Wolverhampton Wanderers recently beat Chelsea twice in one season for the first time in 49 years. Matheus Cunha’s hat-trick and an own goal by Axel Disasi overshadowed goals by Cole Palmer and Thiago Silva.
Chelsea has lost six of their last seven away games but historically does well in FA Cup replays, winning eight of their last nine.
They’ve won at Villa Park in the last two Premier League seasons but haven’t scored against Aston Villa in three games. Not scoring in a fourth game would be a new low for Pochettino.
Aston Villa FA Cup form:
Aston Villa form (all competitions):
W W D D L W
Chelsea FA Cup form:
Chelsea form (all competitions):
L W W D L L
Villa removed Middlesbrough from the FA Cup but cannot use Morgan Rogers, a new signing from them, as he is cup-tied.
Emery faces several injuries. Emi Buendia, Tyrone Mings, and Jhon Duran won’t play for months. Pau Torres, Lucas Digne, and Nicolo Zaniolo are also out.
Bertrand Traore left for Villarreal, leaving no reason for Emery to change his lineup unless necessary. Moussa Diaby and Matty Cash might play if needed.
Chelsea has many injured players. Lesley Ugochukwu, Wesley Fofana, Robert Sanchez, Reece James, Marc Cucurella, and Romeo Lavia are recovering.
Levi Colwill and Trevoh Chalobah might not play as they return to fitness. Pochettino might make several changes, with Carney Chukwuemeka, Benoit Badiashile, Mykhaylo Mudryk, and Nicolas Jackson ready to play.
Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Lenglet, Moreno; McGinn, Kamara, Luiz, Bailey; Diaby, Watkins
Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Gusto, Disasi, Badiashile, Chilwell;
Palmer, Nkunku, Mudryk;
Prediction: Aston Villa 3-1 Chelsea
Aston Villa has lost their last five home FA Cup games, but they have a good chance against a weak Chelsea team. We believe Chelsea will score, but Aston Villa’s strong attackers will secure a win and increase pressure on Pochettino.