Chelsea and Aston Villa fail to make chances count in FA Cup stalemate

By Sports Desk January 26, 2024

Chelsea were held to a lively goalless draw by Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge as both sides squandered opportunities to settle their FA Cup fourth-round tie.

Mauricio Pochettino’s team had scored six in their previous outing, dispatching Middlesbrough to reach next month’s Carabao Cup final, but found Unai Emery’s Premier League high-flyers a more obdurate hurdle as a combined 23 shots from both sides failed to yield a winner.

John McGinn spurned Villa’s best chances in either half, while Emiliano Martinez twice denied Chelsea as Noni Madueke and Cole Palmer found themselves frustrated.

It was a theme of the night in west London as a replay at Villa Park beckoned.

Villa should have led after 10 minutes, Youri Tielemans with a free header from six yards out that he thumped downwards into the ground, the pace taken off the ball allowing Djordje Petrovic to save.

Visiting supporters were on their feet when Douglas Luiz tapped in from almost on the goal line, but their delight was curtailed after VAR determined the midfielder had handled as the ball deflected to him off Alfie Gilchrist.

Palmer fed Madueke who might have done better with his low finish, aimed towards the corner but instead fired against Martinez.

Palmer was then the recipient of a ludicrous gift from Clement Lenglet, the defender’s square ball easily cut out by the former Manchester City man who again found only the goalkeeper with his shot.

Madueke was next to go close, he knocked an effort from close range against the legs of Martinez after Raheem Sterling had dazzled Matty Cash on the right and fed Palmer who crossed.

With virtually the final act of the first period, Moussa Diaby raced down the right and centred for McGinn, who with a sweep of his right boot hit a curling strike that cleared the crossbar by inches.

Villa ended a run of eight straight FA Cup defeats with their third-round victory at Middlesbrough but here they were made to weather a first half in which Chelsea had the better of the chances, though as so often this campaign Pochettino’s side lacked cutting edge in front of goal.

Palmer tried to benefit from another Villa howler at the back midway through the second half.

Martinez hit a clearance with insufficient height that struck Chelsea’s top scorer, who seemed in too much of a hurry to execute the finish. Trying to catch out the backtracking goalkeeper, he missed his kick entirely, as Emery breathed a sigh of relief.

Thiago Silva flung his head at a goal-bound Luiz effort as the game started to become stretched.

Ollie Watkins took a touch and hit a fizzing drive that Petrovic beat away, then the goalkeeper made the save of the match diving low with a stunning reach to claw Cash’s left-footed piledriver from the foot of the post.

McGinn had the chance to settle it and dodge a replay four minutes from time, arriving at the near post to meet Nicolo Zaniolo’s cross at the near post. However, he got too much of a glance on the ball under pressure from Silva, as the chance and the game fizzled out.

Related items

  • No changes as Brazil confirm final Copa America squad No changes as Brazil confirm final Copa America squad

    Dorival Junior has stuck with the same 26-man squad he provisionally selected for Brazil's 2024 Copa America campaign.

    Juventus' Bremer, Atalanta midfielder Ederson and Porto forward Pepe were all called up when CONMEBOL announced the squads were being expanded from 23 players to 26.

    The Brazilian had already had to make changes after Manchester City's Ederson was ruled out due to an injury sustained at the end of the Premier League season, with Rafael brought in to replace him.

    Lucas Paqueta also keeps his place after the Brazilian Football Association (CBF) confirmed he would be allowed to stay with the squad despite being charged by the England Football Association (FA) for allegedly breaching betting rules.

    Casemiro, Gabriel Jesus and Thiago Silva had already been left out of the provisional squad announced in May, while Richarlison and Neymar are both missing due to injury.

    Brazil are nine-time winners of the Copa America and will begin their campaign against Costa Rica on June 24 before also facing Paraguay and Colombia in Group D.

    Final Brazil squad: Alisson (Liverpool), Bento (Atletico PR), Rafael (Sao Paolo), Beraldo (PSG), Bremer (Juventus), Eder Militao (Real Madrid), Gabriel (Arsenal), Marquinhos (PSG), Danilo (Juventus), Yan Couto (Girona), Guilherme Arana (Atletico MG), Wendell (Porto), Andreas Pereira (Fulham), Bruno Guimaraes (Newcastle), Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa), Ederson (Atalanta), Joao Gomes (Wolves), Lucas Paqueta (West Ham), Endrick (Palmeiras), Evanilson (Porto), Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal), Pepe (Porto), Raphinha (Barcelona), Rodrygo (Real Madrid), Savinho (Girona), Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid).

  • Raphinha hits back after Mbappe's criticism of South American football Raphinha hits back after Mbappe's criticism of South American football

    Raphinha has responded to Kylian Mbappe's claims that the Euros are harder than the World Cup by reminding the Frenchman who beat them in the 2022 final.

    In an interview, Mbappe noted that France had not won the European Championships in 24 years, which is something he will be looking to change this year.

    That observation then led to him saying, "The Euros is a difficult competition, more than a World Cup. All the teams know each other, and the style of soccer is similar. Group stages are difficult."

    However, Brazil's Raphinha was not happy with the 25-year-old's comparison, pointing out that Argentina prevented them from winning the World Cup in 2022.

    "Unfortunately for him and fortunately for us, he lost a World Cup against a South American team," Raphinha said in a press conference ahead of the Copa America.

    The Barcelona winger also referenced other comments made by Mbappe from a couple of years ago. The new Real Madrid star implied World Cup qualification was easier in South America than in Europe, and suggested the football "wasn't as advanced".

    Raphinha added, "I would like to see the European teams playing in the South American qualifiers on the fields where we play. That's when I'd see if it's easy or hard."

    Brazil begin their Copa America campaign against Costa Rica on June 24, while France will face Austria in their Euro 2024 opener on Monday.

  • Pavlovic signs two-year contract extension with Bayern Pavlovic signs two-year contract extension with Bayern

    Aleksandar Pavlovic has signed a contract extension which will keep him at Bayern Munich until 2029.

    Pavlovic's current contract was due to run out in 2027, but the club have chosen to trigger a two-year extension.

    The 20-year-old enjoyed an impressive breakout campaign in 2023-24, in which he made 22 appearances in all competitions, scoring two goals and providing two assists.

    Pavlovic joined Bayern as a seven-year-old and was handed his debut for the first team in November last year when he came off the bench to assist Harry Kane in a 4-0 victory.

    His club form earned him a call-up to Germany's squad for Euro 2024, but he was forced to withdraw after coming down with tonsillitis days before the opener against Scotland.

    "Unfortunately, this tonsillitis has denied me my dream of playing in the European Championship on home turf, which is very disappointing – but I'm thrilled that my contract with FC Bayern has been extended until 2029," Pavlovic said.

    "It shows the club has trust in me, which I'm eager to repay. FC Bayern is my home. I'm proud, happy and grateful, want to win trophies with the team and continue my personal development."

    Pavlovic made 19 appearances in the Bundesliga this season, winning 15 of those, with the team scoring 54 goals in the process.

    In the 15 games that the midfielder missed in the league, Bayern won just eight times, conceding 14 more goals.  

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.