Villa’s Wembley woes continue as Chelsea march on
Aston Villa 0-3 Chelsea
For the second time this season Martin O’Neill’s Aston Villa suffered a Wembley defeat, this time at the hands of Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea, who themselves had inflicted a 7-1 mauling of the Villains just two weeks ago.
The Blues’ 3-0 win came courtesy of close range finishes from Dider Drogba - his fifth goal in as many appearances at the new Wembley - Florent Malouda and Frank Lampard, as the holders secured their third appearance in the FA Cup Final in four years.
O’Neill saw his side flatter to deceive in the same way as during the Carling Cup Final in February on a Wembley pitch that appeared better suited for contestants from Dancing On Ice than for those competing for the FA Cup.
And just like that final against Manchester United, Villa had the misfortune of being on the wrong side of a poor refereeing decision early on, as Howard Webb - the official who will represent England at this year’s World Cup - waved away Gabriel Agbonlahor’s protests after he was seemingly hauled to the ground by John Obi Mikel inside the box.
Villa were unable to lift themselves after the verdict, and without the cushion of the goal a penalty should have yielded, Chelsea sucked the life out of their opponents. Three goals in a second half that summed up the Midlanders’ lack of luck, their apparent end-of-season tiredness and the League-leaders’ potent finishing ability.
First it was Drogba, who steered the ball into the corner after John Terry had poked the ball through to the Ivorian, Malouda, who was fresh from being voted Player of the Month in the Premier League to half volley Michael Ballack’s right wing cross, and then Frank Lampard, whose calm finish was the climax to a flowing move in stoppage time.
And Chelsea’s third goal-scorer was keen to stress afterwards that the opening goal from Drogba helped paved the way for their passage to the final.
“At half-time we said to each other we hadn’t even started yet,” said Lampard. “The confidence came after the goal and we deserved it in the end.”
“Yes, decisions don’t go your way, but you have to ask have Villa been good enough to beat Chelsea – and the answer is no.”
The win puts Chelsea on track for their first League and FA Cup double in Ancelotti’s first season at Stamford Bridge, and with a two-point lead over Manchester United and a final against either Portsmouth or Tottenham Hotspur on the horizon, the Italian must be delighted with his year’s work in west London.