Aston Villa 1-0 Chelsea: Match Reaction
Chelsea lost the plot, and their way in the Premier League title race, as they succumbed to a 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa.
Fabian Delph’s opener with nine minutes left on the clock proved critical as The Villans ensure the points remain in the West Midlands.
The goal had followed Chelsea being reduced to 10 men as Willian was shown a second yellow card, and to add salt to the wound after Villa’s goal, Chelsea were further reduced in numbers, with Ramires shown a straight red and Mourinho himself sent to the stands.
It marks another momentous day in the title race as the Blues failed to cope with the pressure of Manchester City winning in the early kick-off. It means, if Manchester City win their three games in hand, they will firmly be back in the driving seat, whilst Liverpool and Arsenal will only be a point behind the Londoners if they both win their respective two games in hand.
But it was a match which could have turned out so different. Wrong offside call followed wrong offside call, as Torres found himself clean on goal, only for the linesman to flag. Further harsh decisions were made against Oscar, and early goals would have certainly settled Chelsea’s nerves.
The Blues did have the ball in the back of the net with minutes remaining of the first period, but Matic was judged to have handled before slotting home, a decision which was correct.
But the main action was in the second half. A strong Chelsea start always left the Pensioners susceptible to the quick Villa break, and Willian’s quick pull on Delph brought about the Brazilian’s second yellow card as he was given his marching orders.
How that proved to be the turning point in the match, as Delph himself scored in the 81st minute. A quick break down Villa’s right was on as Ivanovic was caught too far up the pitch, and Albrighton’s pull-back was perfect for Delph to flick in.
As Chelsea pushed on, the more frail they looked. Ivanovic was deployed as an emergency forward, and Delph rattled the bar when in acres of space.
Ramires, on full-throttle mode, clattered El Ahmadi at maximum pace, resulting in the game’s second red. Mourinho was also told to “go away” as an interesting game turned sour for Chelsea.
Man of the Match
CESAR AZPILICUETA: Chosen as my Chelsea Man of the Match as the Spaniard was defensively resolute, held Aston Villa back well and defended Benteke encouragingly. Despite spirited huffing and puffing, no other Chelsea player was really worthy of it. 6/10
Jose Mourinho was unimpressed with Chris Foy’s performance: “I don’t know why I was sent off. I asked, but the referee refused to speak to me. We [will be] very, very unlucky to have another refereeing performance like this one. This was not about one mistake a referee can make, a penalty or not giving a penalty, but this is about a 94 minute performance.”
Paul Lambert was in fine spirits: “I have been here nearly two seasons but that is the best one victory we have had. It was a fantastic team performance. We were worthy. It was an extraordinary effort.”