Aston Villa take on the visitors Chelsea in the replay match of the round 1/16-finals of English FA Cup. The match will be played on Wednesday, February 7th at Villa Park (Birmingham).
Aston Villa have a glorious history, and although not long ago they returned from the Championship, they aimed to restore their former glory. Somehow they managed to lure Unai Emery to their side, and so far, this decision seems to be a stroke of luck, to say the least. Immediately after last season, the Spaniard managed to lead his new team to seventh place. Thanks to this, they secured a spot in the Conference League, and starting from the summer qualifiers, the English team advanced to the playoffs, even finishing in first place. With a couple of interesting signings, the team noticeably improved in the Premier League as well - by January, they even reached second place. However, there were some setbacks in 2024. Of course, the main goal is to stay in the top four. So it's not surprising that they faced problems even against Middlesbrough in the cup - they scored the only goal late in the game. And in London, they didn't score at all.
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Chelsea can somewhat salvage the season through knockout games. After finishing in a humiliating 12th place in the previous season, the Blues tried to work on their mistakes. This involved appointing Pochettino as the head coach and making extensive changes to the squad, spending new hundreds of millions, breaking transfer records for Kaisedo and becoming the main spenders not only in Britain but also in the entire football world. By February, the aristocrats found themselves outside the Eurocups zone, and, most importantly, with no real chances of breaking into the top four. To compensate somehow, Mudrik and company are focusing on the cup. By the way, without Mikhail's goal, which capitalized on Trippier's mistake, they wouldn't have progressed on penalties in the League Cup quarterfinal against Newcastle. They lost the first away leg of the semifinal against Middlesbrough - but in the return leg, taking advantage of the Riversiders' grave mistakes, they crushed them. Now, at the end of the month, they'll play the decisive match for the trophy against formidable Liverpool. And against the Villans, playing on the third day after Middlesbrough, they were held to a goalless draw at home in the cup.
Last year, already under Emery, the Villans managed to beat the aristocrats twice without conceding - playing in April and in September in the capital - 2-0 and 1-0. The hosts in Birmingham are expected to win. Let's agree with that, but let's still hedge our bets with a draw no bet.
Prediction for the match: Aston Villa to win with 0.0 handicap.