Just 11 days after their clash in the Premier League, Aston Villa and Chelsea duked it out again. This time the two sides met in the third round of the Carabao Cup in what appeared to be an easy win for Chelsea against a youthful Aston Villa side.
As it turned out, the rotated Chelsea side – which featured 10 changes from the team that beat Tottenham Hotspur – needed penalties to squeak past Villa and secure their place in the next round of the tournament.
Rotated Chelsea Team Eke By Aston Villa on Penalties
The Game Was A Scrappy Affair
Right from the off this felt like a tense affair and that carried through the whole match as it was a very physical and scrappy affair with challenges flying in left and right. Saul Niguez, who had a debut to forget against Aston Villa in the league, seemed to end his night with more fouls to his name than passes in a beautiful display of tenacity.
Chelsea went with a completely fresh defence with Trevoh Chalobah, Malang Sarr, and Reece James making up the back three and what they lacked in experience they more than made up for with a desire to win the ball. Aston Villa’s team had similar youthful energy that they brought to the tie.
The physicality lent itself to a back and forth game with both sides occasionally looking likely to break the deadlock. Both Chelsea and Aston Villa wound up scoring from headers, Villa’s goal came after an immaculate cross from Matty Cash, which took the game to penalties.
Chelsea’s decision to bring on Romelu Lukaku will be looked at as a stroke of genius as the Belgian’s mere presence helped turn the tide of the game in Chelsea’s favour after a spell of great Aston Villa play.
Lukaku wasn’t able to fire Chelsea to a win like he did against Zenit but he did trouble the Aston Villa defence a handful of times in the late stages of the game.
Chelsea’s Penalty Heroics
Two early misses put the pressure on Aston Villa as they failed to convert on their second and third penalties while Chelsea put their first three away.
A Ben Chilwell miss wasn’t enough to allow Villa back into the game as Reece James converted the final penalty to send Chelsea through after a nervy and hard-fought 90 minutes of football.