Chelsea Beat Aston Villa To Ease Pressure On Mauricio Pochettino

Feb 8, 2024

Chelsea eased the spotlight on manager Mauricio Pochettino by reaching the FA Cup fifth round on Wednesday with a stunning 3-1 win at Aston Villa, while Nottingham Forest prepare for the clash with Manchester United. Conor Gallagher, Nicholas Jackson and Enzo Fernandez struck for the Blues to erase the memories of their 4-2 home defeat to Wolves on Sunday at Villa Park. Chelsea were left disappointed by a disgruntled home support at the weekend as Wolves suffered a 4–1 defeat at Liverpool a week earlier.

Pochettino's side finished 11th in the Premier League, with an early exit from the FA Cup adding to the pressure on Argentina.

Pochettino insisted on Tuesday he would not lose his hair due to work stress and was rewarded for some bold decisions with his team selection.

Thiago Silva was sent to the bench just hours after his wife apologized for comments on social media in which she called for “change” at the club.

Raheem Sterling was also left out on a night when many of Chelsea's expensive young guns were down for the count.

“I think (it) was the best or maybe one of the best performances of the season,” Pochettino said. “It came at a very good moment for us.

“We have a young team. It's about being solid and consistent and that's the hardest thing on a young team.”

It was one of the club's academy graduates who turned the ball in as Gallagher fired from close range for his first goal of the season.

Jackson has been guilty of missing some great chances early in his Chelsea career, but was lethal to double his side's lead with a downward header from Malo Gusto's cross.

Villa were unbeaten in 17 home Premier League games for almost a year until Newcastle won at Villa Park a week ago.

But Unai Emery's side have gradually crashed out of both domestic cup competitions on home soil this season.

Fernandez's brilliant free-kick made it 3-0, ending the match just before the hour mark.

Rumors in recent days have suggested that the Argentine could be looking for an exit from World Cup winners Benfica just a year after his then British transfer record transfer.

But Fernandez gestured to suggest he was staying put after heading international teammate Amy Martínez into the top corner.

Pochettino has the chance to mark a difficult first season in English football with his first trophy when Chelsea face Liverpool in the League Cup final on February 25.

And they will be confident of reaching the FA Cup quarter-finals when they host second-tier Leeds in the fifth round.

Villa got a consolation goal in stoppage time when Moussa Diaby fired off the post, but it was too little, too late for the home team.

Forest earned the right to host United in the last 16 but needed penalties to see off Bristol City in the Championship.

Divock Origi gave Forest an early lead, but Jason Knight soon equalized for the visitors.

City then regretted missing several chances to win the game before extra time and paid the price from the spot as Sam Bell was the only man to fail to score in the shootout.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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