Chelsea will be looking to follow up their EFL Cup final berth with a place in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Friday at home to Aston Villa. Mauricio Pochettino's side brushed Middlesbrough aside with ease on Tuesday in a 6-1 thumping while Unai Emery's men actually disposed of Boro in the previous round of the FA Cup which ended a run of seven straight third round exits. Between them, these two are 15-time winners of the competition and Pochettino would love to add to his silverware won with Paris Saint-Germain which would finally end his trophy drought in English soccer.
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The EFL Cup final is his best shot yet at that but the FA Cup could also be a viable alternative route. Chelsea dumped out Preston North End in the last round and now are on a seven-game winning run at Stamford Bridge across all competitions. Villa's last journey into the fourth round came back in 2016 despite having gone all the way to the 2015 final before being thumped by Arsenal. It has been 24 years since the Villans last won an FA Cup game away against another Premier League side and Emery will want to see his team put a goalless EPL draw against Everton behind them.
Here's our storylines, how you can watch the match and more:
How to watch and odds
- Date: Friday, Jan. 26 | Time: 2:45 p.m. ET
- Location: Stamford Bridge -- London, England
- Live Stream: ESPN+
- Odds: Chelsea -105; Draw: +260; Villa +210
Chelsea: Christopher Nkunku, Lesley Ugochukwu, Marc Cucurella, Robert Sanchez, Wesley Fofana, Romeo Lavia and Reece James are all out injured while Nicolas Jackson remains with Senegal on Africa Cup of Nations duty. Pochettino could get Malo Gusto back after the EFL Cup game and the Blues could even go for an unchanged XI with Noni Madueke and Conor Gallagher included.
Potential Chelsea XI: Petrovic; Disasi, Badiashile, Colwill, Chilwell; Caicedo, Fernandez; Madueke, Gallagher, Palmer; Broja.
Villa: Bertrand Traore is on AFCON duty while Emiliano Buendia and Tyrone Mings remain long-term absentees. Lucas Digne could miss out again but Pau Torres, Jacob Ramsey and Robin Olsen are all expected to return. Moussa Diaby could drop out for Chelsea target Jhon Duran to partner Ollie Watkins while Matty Cash could return after his Boro winner.
Potential Villa XI: Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Torres, Moreno; Bailey, Luiz, Kamara, McGinn; Watkins, Duran.
Unfortunately for both, replays are valid in the first four rounds of the FA Cup which means that a draw here will see this one go back to Villa Park. That is the scenario that I foresee for a weary Blues side and the Villans who have started to tire in recent weeks. Both sides to score with a narrow victory on either side not impossible but a tie still the most likely outcome. Pick: Chelsea 1, Villa 1.