legend has showered and with praise after Chelsea’s resounding FA Cup win over Aston Villa, branding the duo’s performance in midfield ‘absolutely outstanding’.
Chelsea entered Wednesday’s fourth round replay at Villa Park under immense pressure after back-to-back defeats, but Pochettino’s men silenced their critics in some style to emerge 3-1 winners and set up an intriguing tie at home to Championship side Leeds United.
Conor Gallagher and Nicolas Jackson found the net to give Chelsea a two-goal advantage inside 21 minutes and Enzo Fernandez’s unstoppable 25-yard free-kick put the visitors out of sight shortly after half-time.
Moussa Diaby pulled a goal back in stoppage time but the late strike proved only to be a consolation for Unai Emery’s side, who were some way from their best across the 90 minutes.
Seemingly a club in crisis before the clash, Chelsea will look to use the win for momentum when they return to Premier League action to face London neighbours Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park next Monday night.
‘Obviously it was a brilliant night for . They were strong, they were aggressive, showed quality. Everything you want from a team away from home,’ legendary ex-United captain Keane told ITV Sport shortly after the final whistle.
‘There were three excellent goals and there are question marks now about Villa.
‘There’s no need to panic but they’ve got another tough game at the weekend and they never turned up tonight.
‘Chelsea grew in confidence with the game and obviously when you score goals it gives them that.
‘But it’s amazing… this game drives you mad. We were praising Villa, we were saying crisis at Chelsea and then they turn up and play like that. ‘
Fernandez provided undoubtedly the moment of the evening with a stunning free-kick from distance to beat fellow countryman Emiliano Martinez in the 54th minute.
in his post-match analysis, Keane waxed lyrical about Fernandez’s performance and highlighted the tremendous impact the Argentine’s midfield partner, Caicedo, had on the game.
‘Absolutely outstanding. The two of them dominated that midfield. Villa were very poor but they looked strong, they looked aggressive, their passing was short, their decision-making was excellent,’ Keane added.
‘They were strong and physical. The two midfielders for Chelsea – outstanding.’
On Fernandez’s free-kick, Keane went on: ‘I can see why the referee gave that free-kick and the strike is just quality.
‘You have to put it in the top corner, he’s facing his team-mate who is a brilliant goalkeeper, what a free-kick. Pace, whip.
‘As soon as it left his foot you thought it had a great chance. Beautiful.’
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