Having just reached the final of The League Cup, Chelsea are now in action in the second domestic cup in this country, The FA Cup.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side will be fully confident from thrashing Middlesbrough 6-1 on Tuesday evening, and they will fancy themselves at home this Friday against Aston Villa in the FA Cup 4th round.
Of course, Villa present a much tougher opposition than Boro did, but there is a feeling that some things are finally starting to click for Pochettino. I’m wary though, because I have typed that a few times before this season only for us to then lose the next game along with a poor performance.
Date, kick-off time and venue
Chelsea vs Aston Villa is scheduled for a 7.45pm GMT kick-off time on Friday 26 January, 2024.
Stamford Bridge in London will host
Where to watch Chelsea vs Aston Villa
TV channel and live stream: The game will not be broadcast live on TV in the UK.
I will be running the live match day discussion thread on the Substack App chat section though, so please do join me there.
Chelsea FA Cup form:
Chelsea form (all competitions):
Aston Villa FA Cup form:
Aston Villa form (all competitions):
As you can see, Chelsea’s current form in the last 5 games is slightly better than Villa, but Villa currently sit 5 places above Chelsea in the league and are 12 points ahead.
Villa have drawn with Everton and lost to Manchester United in their last four games across all competitions.
Unai Emery is a manager who likes his teams to play football and on the front foot. In their last game against Everton, a 0-0 draw, they bossed possession with 69% and had 16 attempts on goal.
It was similar in their 3-2 home win against Burnley, with 66% possession and 19 attempts on goal.
Even away at Manchester United, a game they lost 3-2, they still had 55% of the possession.
So it is safe to say that they will be coming at Chelsea which could make for quite an open game, and also give this one the potential to be quite high scoring as both teams play on the front foot and like to have possession.
Emery will use a back four and look to Douglas Luiz to help them boss it in the middle. There will be a battle to be had there with the likes of Conor Gallagher and Enzo Fernandez, and individual battles could decide this game.
Up top they are a threat with players like Ollie Watkins who has been in good form, and they have decent pace and intensity in the high press. Chelsea often struggle to play out against an intense press, so Pochettino will need to be aware of that.
Head to head (h2h) history and results
Chelsea wins: 68
Aston Villa wins: 60
Chelsea vs Aston Villa team news
Pochettino has spoken to the media and Malo Gusto and Christopher Nkunku, whilst both back in training, will not make this game. Should be available for next week. No other injured players are expected back yet, and there will be a late fitness test and assessment to see if Ben Chilwell can start or if he starts on the bench.
Villa may be able to call on Pau Torres and Jacob Ramsey for the game, although Lucas Digne, Tyrone Mings and Emiliano Buendia are out long-term.
I think Conor Gallagher will be recalled and Armando Broja comes out for Cole Palmer to play as the false 9, just like we ended the Boro game doing.
Pochettino was clearly unhappy with Mykhailo Mudryk on Tuesday so I think he might come out of the starting Xl for Noni Madueke.
The back four were good on Tuesday and are likely to return as the same back four on Friday, as Gusto is deemed not fit enough to be involved.
Chilwell If he is deemed fit enought to start, will start.
I am going for Chelsea 2 Aston Villa 3 (sorry).
We know they are going to be a very tough side to play against and will come in and try to be on the front foot.
I think it has the potential to be high scoring and pretty wild, which is why I’ve gone for this score prediction. I can see us struggling with the pressure of the high press and the home crowd then getting irate.
Chelsea – 11/10
Draw – 12/5
Villa – 23/10
Both teams to score YES – 3/5
*Odds courtesy of Ladbrokes and correct at time of publication.
I’d like to be more optimistic after thrashing a team 6-1, but it’s going to be a whole different ball game. Boro afforded our back four all the time in the world on Tuesday, Villa will not be doing that.
We are also liable to make mistakes and give away silly goals, but we can also be a true threat ourselves and our high press can be equally as dangerous.
Of course we can beat them, and if every single player puts in a top quality performance then I think we have a decent chance. But I’m not fully there yet with the confidence I am afraid.