Villa’s FA Cup adventure has fallen over at the first hurdle.
Two early goals in each half from Swansea City’s Courtney Baker-Richardson and Nathan Dyer sent Aston Villa crashing out of theFA Cup Third Round for the third consecutive year. Despite beatingSwansea just 10 days ago and twice this season in the Championship without conceding, Villa watched as Swansea netted three goals in total past another Villa makeshift defense as the Swans advanced 3-0 away at Villa Park. It’d be unfair to say Villa are in crisis so early in Dean Smith’s tenure at Villa Park, but the remnants of Steve Bruce’s mismanagement of Villa’s back line continue to grow in stature as Villa stumble out of 2018 and into 2019.
Villa made seven changes in total from the squad that drew 2-2 with Queens Park Rangers back on Tuesday - and it showed just three minutes in. An all too familiar goalkeeper wobble presented Swansea with their first early goal. Villa failed to clear a corner and Lovre Kalinic, on his Villa debut, allowed a low cross to ricochet off his chest, on to the foot of Baker-Richardson, and into the back of Villa’s net.
Villa responded quickly just a few minutes later. Scott Hogan had a point blank header cleared off the line by Swansea’s Erwin Mulder after an Albert Adomah cross. However, after that fleeting threat,Villa failed to get a handle on the game. Swansea was unable to get more out of their ascendency in the first half and took a 1-0 lead into halftime. To say the performance was poor from the Villans in the first half would have been a compliment. Villa created very little going forward and allowed Swansea to tease in and around Villa’s18-yard line unimpeded.
Swansea opened the second half very much like the first and their play around the Villa box yielded their second just two minutes into the second half. Leroy Fer picked out Dyer cutting behind a sleepy Villa defensive line with a nice diagonal pass. Dyer easily slotted past Kalinic and Swansea was as good as gone.
Villa finally showed signs of life after an hour through the introduction of Jonathan Kodjia and Henri Lansbury but even as their attack brightened, Villa only managed two shots on target all afternoon.
Jay Fulton netted a third on 78 minutes on another assist from Fer. Fer commanded the game from midfield as Villa failed to grab a hold of the game in the middle of the pitch.
Swansea lacked their main attacking threats in Ollie McBurnie,Wilfried Bony, and Jefferson Montero but had no problem threatening Villa all afternoon.
Villa’s performance was easily the worst since the arrival of Smith. Villa now face a critical January transfer window to put right some of the problems keeping the squad from performing up to its potential.
Aston Villa: Kalinic, Bree, Elphick, Hutton, Taylor, O’Hare (Kodjia54), Whelan (Lansbury 59), McGinn, Adomah, El Ghazi, Hogan (Davis 72)
Swansea City: Mulder, Naughton, van der Hoorn, Rodon, Roberts, Fer,Grimes, Dyer (James 71), Celina, Routledge, Baker-Richardson (Fulton71)