VAR disallowed Douglas Luiz’s goal, forcing Aston Villa and Chelsea to play a rematch in the FA Cup.

VAR disallowed Douglas Luiz’s goal, forcing Aston Villa and Chelsea to play a rematch in the FA Cup.

After Chelsea showcased their strong offensive capabilities and secured a spot in the Wembley final, it became clear that under Mauricio Pochettino they are still a team that is a work in progress. This was evident as they barely managed to hold off Aston Villa’s late attacks, resulting in an FA Cup replay.

One mitigating factor for their lack of potency was the fact Chelsea had only 72 hours preparation after dismantling Middlesbrough 6-1 to reach the Carabao Cup final while Villa had not been in action since 14 January.

Emiliano Martínez, Villa’s goalkeeper, recognized the difference in preparation after his outstanding performance earned Unai Emery’s team their third straight clean sheet in all competitions.

“We were given a week break, and then we were scheduled to play Chelsea away,” he stated. “We were aware that it would be challenging, but we had 6,000 fans with us and we are determined to advance in the Cup.”

“They were given opportunities and began the game with great intensity. However, they were unable to score and afterwards, I believe we had excellent chances to secure the victory.”

Chelsea have been performing exceptionally well at their home stadium, Stamford Bridge. Under Pochettino’s leadership, the team has not lost a single game in their last nine matches at home in all competitions. They have also emerged victorious in their last eight home games in the FA Cup. However, Villa managed to break this streak by taking the lead in the 12th minute. A cleverly executed set piece resulted in Moussa Diaby’s powerful shot deflecting off youngster Alfie Gilchrist and landing perfectly for Douglas Luiz to tap into an open goal.

Aston Villa’s goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez makes a save from Chelsea’s Cole Palmer.View image in fullscreen

Douglas Luiz was deemed to have handled the ball, leading referee Robert Jones to disallow the goal. Despite protests from the 6,000 visiting fans, the home crowd erupted in celebration.

Shortly after, the game remained intense as Martínez made an impressive save on Noni Madueke’s powerful shot. He then came to the rescue of his teammate Clément Lenglet by preventing Cole Palmer from scoring at close range.

Chelsea’s inability to execute effectively hindered them from capitalizing on their control of the game, with Pochettino’s team failing to convert any of their opportunities. While he acknowledged the problem, he maintained that his youthful squad is still in a process of growth.

Pochettino commented that Villa has a strong offensive lineup. Despite their lack of scoring, our team managed to prevent them from scoring. It was a challenging match against Aston Villa, but we had opportunities to score. I have confidence in my players and believe that if we continue to play like this, we will eventually score.

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Pochettino may argue that Chelsea has already exceeded their goal count from last season in just half the number of games, which supports his confidence. However, this particular match provided limited opportunities. When a rare chance did arise, neither team was able to capitalize on it.

In the 67th minute, Cole Palmer missed a great opportunity to score first, as he received a poor clearance from Martínez and hit the ball poorly, causing it to roll back to the relieved Villa goalkeeper.

Djordje Petrovic impressively deflected the ball away from Ollie Watkins’ shot at the 74th minute. He then expertly blocked Matty Cash’s powerful left-footed attempt as Emery’s team increased their attacking intensity.

Chelsea managed to hold on for the last 15 minutes and force a replay, but it wasn’t quite enough.