The first of this weekends FA Cup Semi-Finals kicked off at Wembley this afternoon with Aston Villa up against Chelsea.
Villa were unlucky when losing out to Manchester United in the League Cup Final earlier this season and were hoping for a second stab at silverware, but when these two sides met in the League – just a couple of weeks ago – Chelsea enjoyed an immense 7-1 victory.
Expectations were therefore high for a big scoreline here, for 3+ Goals. Thirty minutes into the game though, after some tight defending and a midfield battle, odds went right out to 6/1, as punters anticipated a hard fought game.
Aston Villa played a very patience game during the first half hour as they held a tight line and asked Chelsea to break them down. In the fiery cauldron of Wembley stadium Chelsea couldn’t break down that Villa side and Villa came at them with some threatening attacks. They were denied a penalty when Agbonlahor was fouled in the box and then came close when Terry just flicked the ball away from Carew as the Norwegian prepared to head into an empty net.
As the fight continued in a somewhat lifeless first half, Drogba came close when his shot – which was surely due to smash the net – was closed down by a last ditch diving tackle, but it was Aston Villa who ended the half as the better side.
The second half opened up with much of the same and in the first sixty-seconds Carew came close again when his header glanced just wide of the post. Chelsea soon found their footing though and began to play some free-flowing football ten minutes into the half.
With sixty-six minutes played Drogba was stopped from unleashing a shot again with some more last ditch defending, but they couldn’t stop him from the resulting corner. The Ivorian striker was just a few yards out when the ball was slipped to him and he cooly slotted it into the net with his left foot. A goal that this game needed but one that came after some strange and uncharacteristic defending from Villa, who had been impenetrable all game.
The goal never opened up the game as expected and both teams created very few chances as this game drifted into the final minutes. With just two minutes left on the clock Chelsea provided some more entertainment when Malouda drifted in at the back post to smash in a cross from Ballack and give Chelsea a 2-0 win and a passage to the Final.