Manchester City powered to a second victory against troubled Chelsea in the space of four days as Riyad Mahrez inspired a 4-0 rout in the FA Cup third round, while Aston Villa crashed to a 2-1 defeat against fourth tier Stevenage on Sunday.
After Premier League sides Newcastle, Nottingham Forest, and Bournemouth were humiliated by lower-league opposition on Saturday, Unai Emery’s Villa was rocked by Stevenage’s two-goal blast in the final minutes.
Premier League champions City rarely suffer such humiliation and they made the strongest possible start by dismissing Chelsea with contemptuous ease at the Etihad Stadium.
Pep Guardiola made seven changes from the City side that won 1-0 at Chelsea in the Premier League on Thursday.
But City were still far too dynamic for struggling Chelsea as Mahrez struck with a brilliant free-kick and a late penalty, with Julian Alvarez and Phil Foden also scoring.
In the fourth round, City will host Premier League leaders Arsenal or third- tier Oxford, who meet on Monday.
City had already eliminated Chelsea from the League Cup this season and the west London club’s first FA Cup third-round exit since 1998 was another blow to a season in danger of spiralling out of control.
While it is probably too early for Chelsea boss Graham Potter to be fearing the sack, just four months after he arrived from Brighton to replace the axed Thomas Tuchel, the 47-year-old might be having a few sleepless nights as he wrestles with his team’s woeful form.
Chelsea have won just three of their last 12 games in all competitions and sit 10th in the Premier League, 10 points adrift of the top four place the club’s American owners would surely have expected Potter to deliver.