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FA Cup | Fourth Round
Jan 26, 2024 at 7.45pm UK
Stamford Bridge

0 - 0
Aston Villa

Silva (9')

Tielemans (46')

Preview: Chelsea vs. Aston Villa - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Chelsea vs. Aston Villa - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Friday's FA Cup clash between Chelsea and Aston Villa, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Still on track for a domestic cup double, Chelsea seek a spot in the fifth round of the FA Cup when Aston Villa travel to Stamford Bridge on Friday evening.

The Blues will compete for EFL Cup glory thanks to a 6-1 battering of Middlesbrough on Tuesday night, while their visitors coincidentally overcame the same opponents in FA Cup round three.

Match preview

Within just two weeks of being appointed Paris Saint-Germain head coach in January 2021, Mauricio Pochettino won the first major honour of his managerial career, and the Argentine is now just 90 minutes away from collecting an elusive maiden trophy in English football.

After trying and failing to lead Tottenham Hotspur to silverware during a five-season spell, Pochettino could mark his opening campaign at Stamford Bridge with an EFL Cup after Chelsea produced an emphatic comeback to end Middlesbrough's magical run in the semi-finals.

A 1-0 first-leg loss at the Riverside Stadium proved totally insignificant, as Cole Palmer's brace, Jonathan Howson's own goal, Axel Disasi's strike, Enzo Fernandez's effort and a closing attempt from Noni Madueke propelled Chelsea to Wembley, where Liverpool or Fulham will stand in their way of supremacy.

Before the Blues faithful can get overly excited about a Wembley sojourn, Pochettino's men have an FA Cup fourth-round tie to win after they cruised past Preston North End 4-0 in their opening encounter, and it has been nine years since Chelsea were last forced to exit in the fourth round.

Still rebuilding the Stamford Bridge walls, Chelsea's crushing of Middlesbrough represented the Blues' seventh home win on the trot across all competitions, and the hosts are also on an eight-game Stamford Bridge winning streak in the FA Cup, but a perpetual knockout specialist will be barking orders from the visiting dugout this week.

While Chelsea left the Riverside Stadium with their tails tucked between the legs, the Lions of Aston Villa let out a mighty roar as they finally wore down the Middlesbrough rearguard in their FA Cup third-round tie, which was on the cusp of going to a replay before fortune favoured Emery's men.

With 87 minutes gone, a speculative strike from Matty Cash took a wicked deflection off of Emmanuel Latte Lath and crept into the bottom corner of the net, ending a gut-wrenching run of seven successive third-round exits for Aston Villa since they last reached round four in 2015-16.

The narrow success of Boro marked just Villa's second FA Cup victory since they were beaten black and blue by Arsenal in the 2014-15 final, but the Lions now have an even longer streak to snap on Friday; it has been 24 years since the Lions last won an FA Cup tie away to a fellow top-flight side.

Lady luck may have been on Villa's side at the Riverside, but Emery's men cut frustrated figures in a Premier League goalless draw - the Spaniard's first-ever in the English top flight - with Everton on January 14, denying them the chance to remain on the podium.

Not since 2010 have Chelsea and Villa shared the spoils in a goalless draw, though, and the Lions also clinched back-to-back wins and back-to-back clean sheets over the Blues at Stamford Bridge in 2023, offering hope to the visiting faithful that Emery's crop can subject the EFL Cup finalists to a rude awakening.

Chelsea FA Cup form:

Chelsea form (all competitions):

Aston Villa FA Cup form:

Aston Villa form (all competitions):

Team News

With just 72 hours to play with in between cup contests, Pochettino and his medical team must conduct rigorous assessments of all of Tuesday's starters, but no serious fitness concerns are believed to have arisen from the thrashing of Middlesbrough.

However, none of Christopher Nkunku (hip), Lesley Ugochukwu (hamstring), Marc Cucurella (ankle), Robert Sanchez (knee), Wesley Fofana (ACL), Romeo Lavia (thigh), Malo Gusto (unspecified) or Reece James (thigh) will exit the treatment room over the next couple of days, while Nicolas Jackson is still on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Senegal.

Pochettino may have Nkunku and Gusto back at his disposal for next week's battle with Liverpool, though, and the Blues boss has also admitted that Ben Chilwell may have to make do with a substitute outing as he builds up his fitness levels.

Similarly, Aston Villa are working around the absence of one Africa Cup of Nations representative in the shape of Bertrand Traore, whose Burkina Faso side qualified for the knockout stages in second place in Group D, meaning that he will be absent for a little while longer.

Long-term knee victims Emiliano Buendia and Tyrone Mings will not be returning any time soon, while Lucas Digne's thigh issue should keep him out as well, and all of Pau Torres (ankle), Jacob Ramsey (thigh) and Robin Olsen (unspecified) remain sidelined.

After witnessing an underwhelming display from Moussa Diaby against Everton, Emery may have been tempted to introduce Jhon Duran alongside Ollie Watkins in West London, but the Chelsea-linked Colombian has also been ruled out for a number of weeks with an injury.

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Petrovic; Disasi, Badiashile, Silva, Colwill; Caicedo, Fernandez; Madueke, Gallagher, Palmer; Broja

Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Torres, Moreno; Bailey, Luiz, Kamara, McGinn; Watkins, Diaby

We say: Chelsea 2-1 Aston Villa

There ought to be no repeat of Chelsea's six-star showing against Middlesbrough this Friday, as Pochettino's jelly-legged side square up to an Aston Villa crop with 11 days of rest under their belt, but attacking incisiveness has evaded the Lions in their last couple of contests.

With the Blues also consigning their previous Stamford Bridge woes to the past and boasting competent options for change in all areas of the field, we have faith in the capital outfit to eke out another home victory and continue their bid for a pair of cup crowns.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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