FA Cup heartbreak as Villa’s poor form continues

Aston Villa were knocked out of the FA Cup last night in an underwhelming performance against an under-pressure Chelsea side.

I have previously spoken about Villa’s performances and they are in very real danger of allowing their impressive season to unravel.

Yes, we are still in the top four and yes we are still in Europe but we have been knocked out of both domestic cups following underwhelming performances.

Results have been inconsistent for a while but bar an impressive performance against a very poor Sheffield United last weekend, Villa have been poor since our 1-0 win over Manchester City at Villa Park in December.

Things must change and they must change starting this weekend against Manchester United. And that comment is aimed at us, the fans, also. We have been underwhelming at Villa Park for a while now and if ever our team needed us, it’s now. It’s us against the world and we need to back every man selected for that team on Sunday.

Back to the depressing stuff. Our defeat to Chelsea.

Report: Aston Villa 1-3 Chelsea

A certain manager once stated that we have no right to beat a side like Chelsea and going by the two clubs’ transfer spending, maybe he has a point. But last night we rolled over and allowed Chelsea to dominate us, similar to what we did when Newcastle visited Villa Park a few weeks ago.

Both sides went strong and despite a positive opening 10 minutes from the home side, it was the visitors who took the lead after 11 minutes.

Nicholas Jackson picked out Noni Madueke in the middle with a cross from the left wing and in turn, laid it off for a waiting Conor Gallagher who unleashed curling effort into the top corner.

It took Chelsea a further 10 minutes to double their lead. Jackson was once again involved but this time it was Malo Gusto who was the provider. The French full-back sent in a delightful cross to find the striker who nodded home to make it 0-2.

Villa came close to pulling one back on the stroke of half time and had it gone in, who knows what would have happened in the second half but John McGinn wasted his effort as it went high over the bar.

Ten minutes after the restart Chelsea put the game out of reach and sealed their name in the next round of the FA Cup. The visitors were awarded a poor free-kick when Enzo Fernández claimed Youri Tielemans had fouled him. Replays showed that the Argentinian international lost his footing but in the words of Lee Dixon “Who cares?”

Fernández stepped up and curled in a world-class free-kick beating his international teammate Emiliano Martínez.

Villa did improve after the third goal but it was too little too late. They did grab a consolation goal through Mousa Diaby late on but the visitors were worthy winners on the night.

What the managers said

Unai Emery: “We were excited and motivated and we started well, we didn’t score but we were feeling good.

“When they were getting in our box we were not being strong and they were affecting us. They got into our box with some crosses and were clinical. I was more or less feeling the difference was the clinical way for them.

“We scored a little bit late and had no time to score the second goal. We have to accept and analyse the match. To beat them is not easy when you’re not being clinical.”

Mauricio Pochettino: “It is a very good moment for us and I’m so happy with the performance. The players were enjoying their football and that is what pleased me the most.”

Up Next

As I previously mentioned, Aston Villa will host Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday which almost feels like a must-win game for Emery’s side.

Chelsea will travel across the Capital next Monday when they take on a struggling Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

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