Back in the faraway land of two weeks ago, Chelsea headed into the FA Cup fourth round at Stamford Bridge on the back of a seven-match winning streak at home. It seemed like we were finally starting to turn the corner.
But around the 60-minute mark of that game, having dominated and frittered away multiple golden chances, we ran completely out of steam. It’s been a bit of a sh*tshow ever since. And by a bit I mean a whole lot. We would hang on to a scoreless draw in that one, to earn ourselves this replay (and a potential fifth round game against Leeds United who beat Plymouth Argyle in their replay yesterday), but have gone on to concede eight goals in the two matches since, looking just about the worst we’ve looked all season. And that’s saying something!
What gives me a bit of hope is that Villa haven’t exactly set the football world on fire since then either. They lost at home to Newcastle, 3-1, before pasting a Sheffield United side flirting with the title of worst Premier League team ever, 5-0.
Villa are a solid 15 points ahead of us, having collected nearly 50 per cent more points than we have. And that sounds about right. But anything can happen in 90 minutes.
Date / Time: Wednesday, February 7, 20.00 GMT; 3pm EST; 1:30am IST (next day)
Venue: Villa Park, Birmingham
Referee: Thomas Bramall (on pitch); Peter Bankes (VAR)
On TV: ITV 1 (UK); none (USA); none (India); SuperSport Premier League (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: ITVX (UK); ESPN+ (USA); Sony LIV (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Aston Villa team news: Villa are in worse shape than they were two weeks ago, with Ezri Konsa going off injured in their last game and Nicolò Zaniolo picking up an injury in training as well. And Douglas Luiz has been dealing with some sort of illness, which also limited his involvement over the weekend. Pau Torres could be back but Emiliano Buendía, Tyrone Mings, Jhon Durán, and Lucas Digne remain out as before.
Chelsea team news: Mauricio Pochettino promised it will be a “different game”, so let’s hope that change will be in the positive direction.
One positive already: no new injuries! The likes of Ben Chilwell, Malo Gusto, and Christopher Nkunku are still coming up to match fitness, but at least they are fit to play some part. Nicolas Jackson’s also back though he still can’t head the ball to save his life.
Reece James, Wesley Fofana, Marc Cucurella, Roméo Lavia, Lesley Ugochukwu, and Robert Sánchez remain out. Trevoh Chalobah’s been training but he remains asymptotic to actual fitness. Levi Colwill is on the up and up as well, but will miss a fourth match on the bounce with his oh-so-minor injury.
Previously: How about some feel-good (marketing) content instead? Good to see you, Eddie.