Chelsea upset Aston Villa in the FA Cup to relieve pressure on Pochettino

In the FA Cup match, Chelsea triumphed over Aston Villa thanks to a goal by Enzo Fernandez from a free kick.

Chelsea upset Aston Villa in the FA Cup to relieve pressure on Pochettino

Chelsea progressed to the FA Cup fifth round on Wednesday, easing the pressure on manager Mauricio Pochettino with a commanding 3-1 victory against Aston Villa. Meanwhile, Nottingham Forest booked a matchup with Manchester United. At Villa Park, Conor Gallagher, Nicolas Jackson, and Enzo Fernandez scored goals for the Blues to erase memories of Sunday’s 4-2 home loss to Wolves.

A week after Wolves’ 4-1 thumping of Chelsea at home, a bitter home crowd jeered Chelsea off during the match. An early FA Cup elimination would have increased the pressure on manager Mauricio Pochettino, especially with his team mired in 11th place in the Premier League.

On Tuesday, Pochettino reaffirmed that he would not go bald from work-related stress and was rewarded for making some audacious decisions while choosing his squad. Shortly after his wife apologized on social media for her outburst, demanding “change” at the team, Thiago Silva was demoted to the bench.

On a night when several of Chelsea’s costly young guns stood up to be counted, Raheem Sterling was also left out.

“I think (it) was one of the best or maybe the best performance of the season,” stated Pochettino. It came at a really favorable time for us.

“Our group is young. The hardest thing for a young team to do is to be reliable and consistent.”

One of the team’s academy alums started things off when Gallagher scored his first goal of the year from close range. Early in his Chelsea tenure, Jackson missed a few obvious opportunities, but he was lethal when he headed down Malo Gusto’s cross to double his team’s lead.

Prior to Newcastle’s victory at Villa Park one week ago, Villa had won 17 of their previous 18 home Premier League games, going back almost a year. However, Unai Emery’s team has finished last in their respective home cup events this season.

Before the hour had passed, Fernandez’s magnificent free kick had made it 3-0, ending the tie. Recently, there have been rumors that the World Cup winner from Argentina may be looking to leave Benfica, where he moved for a then-record British transfer of just over a year ago.

After swerving past international teammate Emi Martinez and into the upper corner, Fernandez made a motion that seemed to indicate he was going to stay put. On February 25, Pochettino will have the opportunity to toast to his first English football trophy after a challenging first season as manager when Chelsea plays Liverpool in the League Cup final.

And when they play second-tier Leeds in the FA Cup fifth round, they will be assured to make it to the quarterfinals. In stoppage time, Moussa Diaby gave Villa a consolation goal, but it was too little, too late for the home team.

Despite needing penalties to defeat Bristol City in the Championship, Forest secured the right to face United in the round of 16. Forest took an early lead thanks to Divock Origi, but Jason Knight immediately pulled the visitors even.

Sam Bell was the only player not to score in the shootout, leaving City to lament their several missed opportunities to win the match before extra time.

Watch Chelsea vs Aston Villa full match highlights :

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