Five things we learned from Chelsea 0-0 Aston Villa

Chelsea and Aston Villa played out a goalless draw in the FA Cup fourth round at Stamford Bridge. A mixture of poor finishing and excellent goalkeeping forced this tie to go to a replay.

Here are five things we learned from the game…

Chelsea front line fail to impress

In an even contest, Chelsea were lacking in front of goal. Noni Madueke, Raheem Sterling, and Cole Palmer all failed to light up the game in the final third. Whilst the game was competitive in midfield, no one in a blue shirt could take the game by the scruff of the neck, and thus the game ended goalless. The game was played at a decent tempo but the finishing touch lacked.

Replay is the result nobody wanted, nor needed

A clean sheet for both sides will please the managers but another fixture to the calendar is far from ideal for both these sides. Chelsea had cup success in the week, but will face a tricky rematch against a Villa side who just love playing at home. Aston Villa too have European commitments to think about in February, so a stalemate will have not been on the top of Unai Emery’s list of wishes.

Emi Martinez masterclass

Aston Villa had their goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez to thank after a handful of fine saves to deny Chelsea in the first half. The Argentine denied both Cole Palmer and Noni Madueke from close range with some fine reaction skills.

Palmer was handed a wonderful chance to open the scoring just before the 20 minute mark, but the legs of Martinez denied the former City man. Ten minutes later, Martinez pulled off a remarkable save from point blank range as Madueke’s shot from barely two yards out was kept out.

The Villa fans were serenading him, singing ‘the best in the world’, and the World Cup winner was proving his worth with some spectacular shot stopping.

Six goals in midweek, none tonight

Chelsea put six past Middlesbrough in the Carabao Cup in midweek to reach Wembley, but tonight they lacked a clinical edge against Aston Villa. Despite Martinez making some big saves, the finishing from the likes of Palmer and Madueke was wasteful and a hatful of chances that were created bu the hosts were not taken.

Although they had a tougher test in Villa, Chelsea still carved out some huge chances, but could not find the back of the net. Cristopher Nkunku is still out with an injury and Nicolas Jackson is away at AFCON. Palmer was given the nod over striker Armando Broja. Chelsea may have to dip into the transfer market at this late stage to secure another forward.

Valiant Villa

Villa had an early goal disallowed due to a handball in the build up, but stayed in the game throughout, matching Chelsea’s intensity and desire. Matty Cash came closest to scoring for the visitors, his rasping shot was well saved by Djordje Petrovic in the second half.

Emery has done a wonderful job since taking over in November 2022. Villa were backed by more than 6,000 fans who made plenty of noise, but sadly they could not see a second win at the Bridge this season.

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