Chelsea eased the pressure on manager Mauricio Pochettino with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Aston Villa in the FA Cup fifth round tie at Villa Park.
The Blues, who have been struggling for form in recent weeks, put in a solid performance to secure the win and book their place in the quarter-finals of the competition. The victory will come as a relief to Pochettino, who has been under scrutiny in recent weeks following a string of poor results.
Chelsea started the game with intent and took the lead in the 14th minute through a stunning goal from Hakim Ziyech. The Moroccan international found the back of the net with a powerful shot from outside the box, leaving Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez with no chance.
Villa tried to respond, but Chelsea’s defense held firm, with goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga pulling off some impressive saves to keep the home side at bay. However, the visitors doubled their lead in the 28th minute when captain Cesar Azpilicueta headed in a corner from Mason Mount to put Chelsea in a commanding position.
The second half saw Villa come out with renewed determination, and they managed to pull a goal back through Bertrand Traore in the 52nd minute. The former Chelsea player found the back of the net with a well-taken strike to give the home side hope of a comeback.
However, Chelsea put the game to bed in the 69th minute when Reece James fired home a third goal to seal the win for the visitors. The Blues saw out the rest of the game comfortably to secure their place in the next round of the competition.
The win will come as a huge relief to Pochettino, who has been facing increasing pressure following a run of poor results in the Premier League. The Argentine manager will be hoping that the victory over Villa can kick-start Chelsea’s season and help them to finish the campaign strongly.
The result also extends Chelsea’s unbeaten run against Villa to 11 games in all competitions, highlighting their dominance over the Midlands club in recent years.
There is still work to be done for Pochettino and his team, but the win over Villa will certainly ease some of the pressure on the manager as they look to finish the season on a high. Chelsea will now turn their attention to the next round of the FA Cup as they aim to secure silverware this season.