A weakened Aston Villa were knocked out of the League Cup by European Champions Chelsea after losing 4-3 on penalties at Stamford Bridge.
Dean Smith made wholesale changes to his side with only two players keeping their place in the starting eleven from the 3-0 win over Everton at the weekend. Jed Steer started in goal with a back four of Ashley Young (captain for the night), Axel Tuanzebe, Kortney Hause and Matty Cash. A midfield five of Morgan Sanson, Marvelous Nakamba, Bertrand Traore, Emi Buendia and Anwar El Ghazi. Cameron Archer was rewarded for his hat-trick in the previous round as he lead the line.
Chelsea also made plenty of changes but we all know the strength and depth they have at their availability.
In a game that saw both sides give as good as they got, the game was surprisingly goalless at half-time. Many Villa fans wondered if it would be similar to our previous visit to Stamford Bridge when we looked back at missed opportunities.
And it was no real surprise when the home side took the lead 9 minutes into the second half. Timo Werner rose, unmarked, to head home from a Reece James cross.
Villa had learnt their lessons though and were level 10 minutes later, as they deserved. Archer got on the end of a Cash cross with a brilliant technique header. It was the first goal from open play that Chelsea have conceded this season.
The game went to a shootout but Young could only watch on as his effort smashed off the crossbar while Nakamba’s effort was saved by Kepa Arrizabalaga. Ben Chilwell missed for Chelsea to give Villa hope but James ensured Chelsea’s name was in the name for the next round with the winning penalty.
- I like many can see why a weaker side was played but at the same time, in a season where we don’t expect to be thinking about relegation, I can’t help but think it was a missed opportunity. Would a stronger Villa side have put Chelsea to the sword? I guess we will never know.
- Emi Buendia is really struggling to perform in the number 10 role. He has played there a few times now and looks lost and out of place. I am unsure whether Smith will persist with this or move him back out wide.
- Morgan Sanson impressed but once again went off injured with reports suggesting he could be missing for around a month. Will the French man ever get a break?
- Despite losing, I couldn’t help but be proud of the performance. The majority of the lads performed especially the younger lads.
- There seems to be no fear with our youth lads. Archer was given a start and lead the line well. He may have been disappointed to not take one of his chances in the first half but he took his goal very well. The introduction of Carney Chukwuemeka and Jaden Philogene-Bidace made us look more of a threat and didn’t weaken the side in the slightest.
- Our fans once again impressed on their travels. Despite some earlier concerns that we wouldn’t sell out our allocation for our second trip to Stamford Bridge in as many weeks, we did and sung with pride.
Saturday, 25th September. Kick-Off: 12.30
It doesn’t get much easier for Villa as they head up to Old Trafford with news today that both Leon Bailey and Morgan Sanson will be ruled out. It’s not a ground we have done particularly well over the years and with the statistic that United are yet to have a penalty yet this year, id be putting a cheeky fiver on Ronaldo scoring a penalty.