Chelsea and Aston Villa will have to face off again in a FA Cup fourth round replay after a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Douglas Luiz did have the ball in the net for the visitors but saw his first-half effort rightly ruled out by VAR for handball.
But it is Chelsea who will look back on a string of chances – many provided by Villa giving away possession – which they failed to capitalise on.
Villa keeper Emi Martinez certainly played his part in that, though, saving sharply from Noni Madueke and Cole Palmer in the first half and then keeping out Palmer again after the break when he had pinged a pass straight at the Chelsea forward. He was also sharp to beat Conor Gallagher to a bad Boubacar Kamara back-pass.
Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino described Martinez as “amazing”, while Aston Villa head coach Unai Emery said: “We needed him tonight. He saved us with some very clear chances for them. You have to try to stop the opponent before getting to our goal like they did. But we are confident with him.”Chelsea stopper Djordje Petrovic was made to work at the other end as well, with two saves in quick succession to deny Ollie Watkins and Matty Cash, as both sides failed to come up with the clinical edge to force a breakthrough.
It means Chelsea – chasing a cup double after booking a place in the Carabao Cup final earlier this week – and Villa will be in the hat for the fifth round draw, which takes place at 2.10pm on Sunday.
Martinez was worked by his own defender Alex Moreno on the half hour, with Palmer’s cutback almost accidentally turned into his goal by the Spaniard. Last ditch interventions from Cash and Ezri Konsa kept Chelsea at bay but Tielemans could have sent Villa in ahead at the break when he sent his first-time shot over the bar from the edge of the box on the stroke of half-time.
Palmer volleyed wide soon after the restart. However, with chances harder to come by in the second period, Pochettino turned to Ben Chilwell with 25 minutes to play. But it was Villa who created some of Chelsea’s biggest chances, with Martinez firing the ball at Palmer, who couldn’t connect cleanly as the ball dropped. Kamara almost played Gallagher in by mistake soon after.
Villa retained a threat themselves, testing Petrovic twice in quick succession, and ramped up the momentum in the final stages as they attacked their vociferous supporters. But they will now need to go again at Villa Park if they are to progress to the next round.
Pochettino: We’re showing we can compete; replay will be good for this young team
Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino: “We didn’t score but we created chances and I trust and believe in my players playing this way that we’ll score. On Tuesday we scored six, today one would be good! But it’s because the keeper is an amazing keeper and sometimes you need some luck to score.
“During the first half of season we’re showing we can compete. The problem was in the first half of the season we didn’t show the consistency to win another game, another game in a similar way. Now we’re more consistent in our performance – not talking about results, performance. Only the defeat away to Middlesbrough, maybe the only disappointment. But now nearly two months.
“It’s going to be good for this young team [the replay]. Against a team that is doing really well in the Premier League, it’s important for our confidence and belief in the way we’re working.”
On Colwill’s injury: “We don’t believe it’s so bad. It’s more an issue he didn’t feel comfortable. He was ready to play and then he feels something. I hope he can be in training tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.”
On Petrovic’s impressive performances: “He’s doing fantastic. We need to give full credit. He arrived this season from the MLS, he’s really young, he’s competing really well. The way he behaves in the goal shows his quality and character.”
Emery ‘proud’ of Villa growing into the game
Aston Villa boss Unai Emery: “Very happy, very proud. First half we were struggling but we were being positive. Second half we were getting better and we finished strong, more close to scoring a goal. We were trying to win the match. Now we are going to play at home, we’ll be motivated and in Villa Park trying to enjoy this way. Ninety minutes at Villa Park with Chelsea is a great match but difficult as well.”