Aston Villa ended Chelsea’s 14 match unbeaten run thanks to a late goal from Fabian Delph. By the end of the match, the Blues were down to nine men, José Mourinho was sent to the stands and Villa had finally recorded back-to-back home wins. The win put them into tenth, nine points from the drop, while Chelsea are now just six points clear at the top, with both Arsenal and Liverpool seeking wins from Sunday’s matches.
Even in a match that, at times, was more boring than watching paint dry, there will almost always be a couple defining moments. This match certainly provided them. Provided quite a few, in fact.
The first half threw up very few thrills, although it was, perhaps, surprising how up for the match the hosts looked. Christian Benteke looked set to score, provided he could just get a piece of the ball, while Villa Park was buzzing. Chelsea were on the attack, but had very little space to work with.
With forty minutes left to play Christian Benteke tried his hand (his boot?) at a scissor-kick volley on the edge of the area, but it went just wide of Petr Cech’s goal.
Perhaps that sent a spark up the Blues’ spine, because a minute later, Nemanja Matić had the ball in the back of the net. However, the Serb was judged to have controlled John Terry’s flick with his arm, and Chris Foy had the goal disallowed.
But that wasn’t the most controversial decision from the referee in this match. In the 67th minute, Mourinho was about to pull off Willian, already on a yellow card. But the manager changed his mind, subbing off Fernando Torres for Demba Ba and putting André Schürrle on in place of Oscar instead.
Just one minute later, Willian was sent off with his second yellow. The Brazilian tugged Fabian Delph’s shirt as they jostled, and although the sending off looked to be a bit harsh, Chelsea were stuck playing the remaining 20+ minutes with just ten men.
The Brazilian, booked in the first half for a foul on Karim El Ahmadi, tugs back Fabian Delph to earn a second yellow and his marching orders.
It looked like Chelsea might still come out on top, particularly when, in the 80th minute, the visitors set up a very tricky little free kick routine. But Ba wasn’t able to connect to Eden Hazard’s threaded ball, and the Blues were looking increasingly out of ideas.
That’s when Villa struck – in the form of a gorgeous goal from Delph. The Englishman sent the ball out wide for Marc Albrighton and, when the perfect pass came back into the area, Delph used a cheeky backheel to get past the Chelsea defense and put the ball into the back of the net.
After that, Chelsea came apart at the seams. Delph nearly scored a second in stoppage time, but his shot hit the woodwork instead.
Immediately after, Ramires lost his cool completely, coming down with both feet on Karim El Ahmadi. Foy sent him off with a straight red – and when Mourinho tried to protest, the Chelsea manager was sent to the stands as well.
Aston Villa: Guzan, Bacuna, Vlaar, Baker, Bennett (Clark 78), Westwood, Delph, El Ahmadi, Weimann, Benteke, Agbonlahor (Albrighton 75)
Goals: Delph 82′
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Ramires, Matic; Willian, Oscar (Schürrle 67), Hazard, Torres (Ba 67)
Red Cards: Willian 68′; Ramires 94′