Nicolas Jackson and Conor Gallagher were on target as Chelsea put Mauricio Pochettino’s smile back on his face on Wednesday by winning 3-1 against Aston Villa to advance to the FA Cup’s fifth round in response to a troublesome week.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino was under enormous pressure following a string of humiliating Premier League defeats, but Chelsea took control of the game thanks to goals from Jackson and Gallagher in the first half, and after the break, Enzo Fernandez scored an incredible free kick.
Villa, who are currently 15 points ahead of Chelsea in the Premier League championship race, were mostly outplayed from the beginning to the end, and Moussa Diaby’s late goal was only a small consolation as their Cup dreams vanished.
Winners of the FA Cup eight times In addition to playing Liverpool in the League Cup final later this month, Chelsea will host Leeds United in round five.
With his team in 11th position in the league despite a significant outlay on acquisitions, Pochettino was questioned during his pre-match news conference on Tuesday about whether or not he still had the support of the club’s owners.
Strangely, after a 4-2 home defeat by Wolverhampton Wanderers, the wife of veteran defender Thiago Silva also criticised the former manager of Paris St. Germain and Tottenham Hotspur, demanding change on social media.
At Villa Park, veteran Silva was benched, but Pochettino’s youthful players at last produced the kind of consistent football that has sorely been missing this season.
Villa actually had a great start, but Chukwunonso Madueke’s pullback of the ball in the eleventh minute put an end to Villa’s momentum, setting Gallagher up for a cool finish that went into the net via sidefoot.
Chelsea’s confidence skyrocketed as they increased their advantage in the 21st minute, sending the 7,000 visiting fans berserk with a header past Emiliano Martinez from a cross played by right defender Malo Gusto.
Chelsea spent over 100 million pounds ($126 million) to recruit Enzo Fernandez, but his influence has not lived up to the hype.
But Martinez, his World Cup-winning Argentina teammate, was left scratching his head after he unleashed an incredible curving free kick that demonstrated his class.
The jubilant Chelsea supporters couldn’t contain their joy, and although a single triumph won’t deflect attention from Pochettino, Wednesday’s showing may prove to be a turning point.