The following article refers to a previous Villa-Chelsea game. For the latest matchup between Aston Villa and Chelsea, click here.
Aston Villa 0-1 Chelsea (Anelka 19′)
Stadium: Villa Park, England
Competition: English Premier League
Date: 21 February 2009
Kickoff: 12:45 GMT, 7:45 ET
Chelsea got a huge win in Guus Hiddink’s managerial debut as they defeated Aston Villa, 1-0, at Villa Park. Soccerlens brought you the action live! Click below for the live-blog and feel free to leave comments below.
How quickly things change. When these two teams met in October, it was Villa that was trying to prove that they were for real and were a legitimate threat to break into the Top 4. On that day, Chelsea dominated Villa, winning by a score of 2-0 in a scoreline that flattered Villa. Villa didn’t generate any quality chances on goal that day, and they proved that they weren’t quite ready for prime time. Chelsea continued their home dominance and looked poised to win the Premiership title. It seemed even more of a sure thing than Robbie Keane succeeding at Liverpool.
Now, a little more than four months later, we see that it’s Chelsea that has something to prove. Their season seems on the verge of imploding and their title hopes are slipping away. New manager Guus Hiddink will hope to stabilize things and get Chelsea back on track. He’ll have a tough task, though, as Villa have only lost once at home all season (a surprising loss to Middlesbrough in November). He’ll be encouraged by Chelsea’s F.A. Cup showing last weekend, as Nicholas Anelka saved his club’s blushes by scoring a hat-trick against Watford. If Hiddink brings his reputation for tactical genius and finally figures out how to utilize Chelsea’s considerable talent, then he could have a sleeping giant on his hands.
Plus, he could be getting Aston Villa at their most vulnerable time. They were soundly beaten last weekend by Everton in the F.A. Cup, losing 3-1 at Goodison Park. With a draining UEFA Cup tie in midweek, Villa could be the more weary team coming into this matchup. Emile Heskey and James Milner are battling injuries and could miss out. Martin O’Neill has been praised for the job he’s done this year, and is already the favorite for the Manager of the Year award. He’ll really earn it if he can keep his team together and put another nail in Chelsea’s coffin.
In any event, it should be a great match. Both teams have a lot to play for and should let it all hang out. Join us and follow the action live!
Aston Villa: Friedel, Cuellar, Davies, Knight, L. Young, Milner, Petrov, Barry (c), A. Young, Heskey, Agbonlahor.
Subs: Guzan, Sidwell, Carew, Delfouneso, Sailfou, Shorey, Gardner.
Villa will make four changes from the side that drew with CSKA Moscow in midweek in the UEFA Cup. Friedel will regain his spot and extend his record-breaking consecutive Premiership starts streak. Cuellar will come in for Shorey in the back, while Milner and Heskey will be good to go after all. They’ll replace Gardner and Carew, respectively. Sidwell is also on the bench, and I’m sure he’ll be looking to get into the game against his old club.
Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Alex, Terry (c), Ferreira, Mikel, Ballack, Lampard, Kalou, Anelka, Drogba.
Subs: Hilario, Ivanovic, Quaresma, Deco, Belletti, Mancienne, Stoch.
Chelsea will make three changes from the side that defeated Watford in the F.A. Cup last weekend. Ivanovic will sit out and the captain will take his place. Mancienne will also sit out as Bosingwa returns to the lineup. At long last, we’ll see the pairing of Drogba and Anelka up front. Seriously, those two get more press coverage than Ashley and Cheryl Cole. Speaking of Ashley, he’s suspended, so Ferreria will start in his place. Looks like all the talk in midweek about using Deco as a deep-lying playmaker was a smokescreen as he’ll start on the bench.
90′ + 4 There’s the whistle, and we’re done! What a great statement from Chelsea as they begin the Guus Hiddink Era in style. Thanks to everyone who followed along! Join me on Tuesday as the Champions League starts up again with Manchester United visiting Inter Milan!
90′ + 3 Chance for Villa as Milner gets it on the right wing. He tries to thread a cross, but Ferreria makes a great diving block of the cross. Milner then runs over Ferreria and he’s called for a foul.
90′ + 2 Chelsea do the time-wasting thing on the corner, and Villa knock it away. Heskey flicks it on to Carew, and he takes it immediately. His shot is wide of the far post, though, and he probably should have held onto it.
90′ + 1 Belletti will come in for Drogba, and there will be four minutes added on. Deco with a great move from the left wing towards the box as he gets past two defenders. He flicks a great pass to Ballack on the edge of the box, who fires a hard shot on target that forces a great save from Friedel. Wow!
90′ Nothing doing on the free kick. Chelsea will go on the counter attack.
89′ Agbonlahor tries to get around Terry, and the Chelsea skipper gives his countryman a hip-check. That’s a booking for JT.
88′ Lampard tries to find Terry, but his header is out for a goal kick. Heskey makes a strong header on the edge of the box, but he’s called for the foul. Mikel is on the ground clutching his noggin, and that will waste more time.
87′ Knight concedes a corner as Lampard made the run past him towards the goal.
86′ Heskey flicks a header behind him, but Carew runs out of real estate. It’s out for a goal kick.
85′ Bosingwa gets a booking for time wasting, and he’ll be suspended for next week’s match. Stupid.
83′ Lampard with a shot, but it’s blocked. Bosingwa and Drogba play the one-two, and he forces Friedel to make a great save. Villa go on the counterattack, but Ballack jumps on top of A. Young and squashes him to the ground. At least Young didn’t get crushed by Fat Frank. Anyway, it’s a smart foul as Chelsea were stretched thin in the back. Ballack gets a booking, obviously.
82′ Drogba with a chance, but he has to spin in order to get the ball on target. It’s off target, and Drogba looks upset that he missed that one. At least it looks like he cares. Haven’t seen that in a while.
81′ Deco with an optimistic shot as he seems to be trying to play his way out of the doghouse. He had options to either side, but decided to go it alone. As such, it’s well off the mark and Friedel will have a goal kick.
80′ Milner makes a run down the right, and he wins a corner off Anelka. Barry sends it in and Carew can’t get his header on target. He might have been better off letting Knight, who made the run behind him, get to that one instead.
79′ Barry curls it into the six-yard box, and Cech handles it easily.
78′ Mikel gives away the free kick in his own half, and let’s see what Villa can do. A. Young gets it and tries the cross from deep down the left flank. Bosingwa cuts it out, though. Ferreria then fouls Agbonlahor and Villa will have a much better free kick chance from about 30 yards out or so.
77′ Ashley Young tries a shot from distance, but it’s over the crossbar.
76′ Drogba wins a corner against Cuellar, and it’s nothing doing as Villa clear it. A. Young tries to get around Bosingwa again, but he can’t do it this time. You win some, you lose some…
75′ Carew sends it to Agbonlahor, who lays it back to Barry. He tries a long-range shot, but it lacks pace, and Cech easily saves it.
73′ Looks like Milner is filling in at right-back as L. Young moves into the center. Speaking of Young, he makes a great tackle on Drogba and springs the counterattack.
70′ Heskey with a great move in the box and he sends a dangerous cross across the goal towards Agbonlahor. He can’t get to it, though, and Chelsea escape again. Meanwhile, Villa will send in the big gun as Carew comes in for Davies. Wow. They’re going for it.
69′ Nothing doing on the corner as Chelsea knock it away from danger.
68′ Great chance by Villa as Friedel sends in long goal kick that finds Heskey. He flicks it to Barry, who is through on goal and has a great chance to score. His shot is knocked away by Cech, and it’s a great save. Cuellar wins a corner as he tries to cross it from the right flank and Bosingwa knocks it out.
66′ A. Young threads it through to Barry, who tries to send a cross into the box against Bosingwa. Barry is called offside, though, and the fans aren’t happy about that.
64′ Lampard sends in the corner, and Alex gets his head on it, but can’t get it on target. Villa eventually clear it away from danger.
63′ Good counterattack from Chelsea as Alex cuts out Ashley Young’s pass to Agbonlahor. It leads to a Lampard shot from long-range that’s deflected out for a corner.
61′ Chelsea with good buildup, but Deco’s pass to Anelka is snuffed out. Chelsea played that entire series through the middle, as their lack of width without the Coles is glaringly obvious.
60′ A. Young with another cross from the left wing as he works on Bosingwa. He can’t get enough curl on it, though, and Cech is able to take it.
59′ Young’s free kick into the box is headed away by Ballack. Drogba takes a tumble and Villa fans want a booking. No dice, though.
58′ Alex is called for the foul on Agbonlahor and Villa will have a chance from about 35 yards out or so.
55′ Another golden chance as Milner is unmarked inside the box. He gets on the end of the corner and looks like he’s going to score, but Drogba just gets a boot on it to concede the corner. Wow. Nothing doing on the ensuing corner and Deco will come on for Kalou.
54′ Agbonlahor outmuscles Alex for the ball and he’s got a great chance to score. He draws Cech out, but Cech makes a great save as Gabby tries to beat him near post instead of shooting towards the far post. It’s out for a corner.
53′ Cuellar gets booked for a handball. Not the one Villa was looking for. A. Young beats Bosingwa down the left wing again, and he threads a great cross into the box towards Agbonlahor. It’s knocked away, but that’s more like it.
52′ Free kick for Ashley Young after Bosingwa fouls Agbohlahor. He sends it into the box and it looks like Mikel gets a hand on it, but no call from the refs.
50′ Good ball in from Ashley Young as he tries to find Milner in front of goal. Cech is out to collect it, though, otherwise that would have been interesting. Chelsea seem to have problems with Agbonlahor and Young’s speed. Not sure why they don’t keep attacking with those two.
49′ Ballack is limping as Chelsea win a corner. Barry deflects it out for another corner. Lampard sends in another corner and Terry gets a header that Petrov heads away from the far post. Not sure if that was going in, but Petrov took no chances.
48′ Agbonlahor gets a beautiful flick from A. Young and he speeds around Alex down the left flank. He tries to send a cross across goal, but it’s over the crossbar.
46′ Chelsea kick off and we’re underway! No changes for either side.
46′ One thing that struck me about Chelsea’s tactics in the first half was that Bosingwa stayed back for much of the first half hour. It seemed like Scolari always had him attacking, which left the defense exposed, more often than not. Bosingwa then started attacking more and generated some chances towards the end of the first half. Let’s see what he does in the second half.
Villa seemed like they didn’t get out of second gear until late in the first half. Meanwhile, Chelsea put together some excellent possessions and deservedly got the opening goal. Chelsea have a lot to be happy about as Drogba and Anelka seem to be playing well up top together, while Lampard seems to have all kinds of room to roam in midfield. They’ve had some shaky moments from Cech, but nothing too bad. They’ll love to get that second goal and really put this game out of reach, so I’d expect more of the same from them in the second half. Villa might have to go for broke, especially since Barry has been largely ineffective in midfield thus far, and we could see Sidwell and Carew before long. Then again, with the way they’re defending (or not defending), they could give up a couple more before all is said and done.
45′ + 2 No time for the corner, and we’re at halftime. Time for a bathroom break!
45′ + 1 One minute will be added on. Chelsea go on the attack and Drogba plays a nice ball into the box from the right edge of the box towards Ballack, whose header is deflected out for a corner.
45′ Chelsea slow things down a little bit and they’ll be thrilled with their effort so far.
43′ Milner tries to test Cech and sends a high cross across the face of the goal. Cech proves he’s up to it, though, and easily cuts it out.
42′ Free kick goes into the box towards a diving Davies, but he just can’t get to it. Milner then is called for a handball and Chelsea will kick it away.
41′ Agbonlahor is fouled by Alex from about 35 yards out or so. Let’s see what they can do here.
40′ A. Young sends in a cross from deep down the left, and Heskey gets a weak header that’s off target.
38′ Great ball in from Ashley Young down the left wing, and he nearly finds Agbonlahor. It’s just out of his reach, though, which is great for Chelsea since Cech was caught in no-man’s land there. It’s surprising just how poorly Cech has been playing lately. He doesn’t look like the old Petr Cech at all Maybe Chelsea sold the wrong keeper.
37′ Bosingwa sends in the cross from the right flank, but it’s knocked out by Luke Young for a corner. Lampard sends it in and it’s knocked away. Bosingwa tries a shot from way out there, but it’s easily off the mark.
36′ Villa with a counterattack, but Barry’s pass to the left flank is well short of A. Young and is easily cut out by Bosingwa.
34′ Ashley Young with a great free-kick as he gets it over the wall and easily beats Cech, who just stares at it as it hits the crossbar! It bounces around a bit before Heskey tries to head it back in, but it’s wide of the post. Wow.
33′ Heskey goes down on the edge of the box from the Mikel challenge, and it’s like old times as Terry and Ballack give the ref an earful. Too bad they don’t have Ashley Cole out there.
32′ Great save by Friedel on the corner as Terry gets a free header on the Lampard corner. It’s out for another corner. On the next corner, it’s out to the edge of the box for Bosingwa. He tries a shot from long-range, but it’s over the crossbar.
31′ Kalou makes a great run into the box and he lays it off to Lampard. They have some miscommunication and Cuellar is able to knock it out for a corner.
28′ Drogba makes a great move into the box as he gets past Cuellar and threads the ball through to himself. Knight is there to block the shot, and it’s easily saved by Friedel.
26′ Lampard runs rampant in his attacking half once again. He gives it to Drogba on the edge of the box, but his return pass is knocked away. Ultimately, Ballack tries a shot from the left wing, but it’s easily saved by Friedel.
24′ Free kick goes into the box, but Knight heads it towards Petrov on the edge of the box. He fires a shot, but he shanks it well wide of the post. Meanwhile, Drogba gets away with a clear push on Knight in the box.
23′ Mikel wipes Heskey out and is called for the foul. No booking, though, and Heskey looks like he’ll be okay.
22′ That goal may have been scored by Anelka, but it was all Lampard’s doing. Beautiful move by Fat Frank as Villa did their best impression of a revolving door.
21′ Corner into the six-yard box but Cech knocks it away. Another long cross from Milner and Cech takes it. He springs the counterattack and Villa are exposed in the back. Good defense from Villa, though, as Anelka can’t find any room to maneuver on the right flank.
20′ Short corner for Villa and they’ll get another one.
19′GOAL! Great play from Chelsea as Lampard makes a beautiful move through three defenders and sends it to Anelka. He’s alone in front of goal, and he doesn’t miss from there. Wow!
18′ Milner with the takeaway as Ferreria messes up his clearance and he tries to to thread the ball in to Agbonlahor. Great play from Alex to knock it away, though, otherwise he would have been through on goal.
16′ Martin O’Neill says that Chelsea are the only club to outplay them all year. What about Middlesbrough?
15′ Anelka wins a free kick from Knight and Chelsea will have a good chance from about 30 yards out or so. Lampard goes for goal, but he hits the wall. Bosingwa gets it and tries to swing in the cross into the box towards Drogba. Kalou, however, undercuts Luke Young and is called for a foul.
14′ Roman Abramovich is in the house. Let’s just say that he isn’t smiling. I’ve got to say, that guy scares me.
12′ Very dangerous cross from Ferreria into the box that is just behind an unmarked Kalou. That would have been a great chance for him there.
10′ Throw-in from Cuellar into the box for Heskey. He takes a shot in the eye and he’s down. Meanwhile, Agbonlahor tries a shot, but he doesn’t get a clean whack at it, and it’s saved by Cech easily.
9′ Lampard tries a long-range shot that’s just over the crossbar. He had a lot of room to maneuver there as Villa didn’t do a good job closing him down. Very shaky defending from Villa so far.
8′ Knight and L. Young have some miscommunication and Drogba takes advantage and wins a corner that he has no business winning. Lampard sends the corner into the box for an unmarked Drogba, but his shot is blocked. Eventually, Villa clear it away from danger.
7′ Ferreria tries to play it long to Drogba down the left wing, but it’s out for a goal kick. Drogba respectfully disagrees and even waves his finger a bit. At least it looks like he’s trying. That’s half the battle sometimes.
5′ Villa clear away the corner. Decent pressure from Chelsea to start the match, though.
4′ Ballack draws a foul from Barry deep down the right wing. Lampard sends it into the box, and Ballack dives for it, but it’s out for a corner.
3′ Early chance for Drogba as Knight gives him room in the box. He fires a low shot that Friedel saves easily. Back the other way as Milner sends a low cross into the box that Cech can’t hold onto. Agbonlahor sends it out to Heskey and he has an open net to fire at. His shot goes over the bar, though, and he really should have done better.
1′ Villa will kick off and we’re underway! Mark Halsey is our ref. Weather looks great, so we won’t have that as an excuse if the quality of play suffers on the pitch. Early pressure as Heskey sends it back to Barry, who tries to play it into the box for him. Alex knocks it out for a throw. On the restart, Barry is called for a foul and Chelsea will kick it away.
0′ I guess I’m not shocked that Scolari got fired. Still, I would have thought he’d get to finish the year. Oh well.
0′ I’m watching this match on Setanta Broadband. If you want to sign up for their service, check out this little primer. Or, you can try your luck with some of the free sites out there. Good luck and enjoy the match!
0′ Anyway, to borrow a line from the American football commentator Dan Fouts, the club that wins this match will be the one that scores more goals.
0′ Now? Good. I needed that laugh.
0′ Are you done laughing? No? Okay then.
0′ Pause for laughter.
0′ Speaking of Arsenal, apparently Nicklas Bendtner thinks he’s Arsenal’s best striker and that he should play every minute of every match.
0′ Another interesting debut this weekend as Andrei Arshavin should get the start for Arsenal. It’ll be interesting to see what he does for the Gunners. I’m still not sure how they’ll resolve that Fabregas/Arshavin/Van Persie logjam, but I guess it’s a good problem to have.
0′ I have a Jackson riding on City upsetting Liverpool. No Stevie G and City nearly beat them last time. Let’s hope for a better result this time around. Especially at +450.
0′ Guus Hiddink will have his work cut out for him. Still, it’s a no-lose situation for him. If he turns things around, then he’ll be hailed as a genius. If not, then he can always blame Scolari. And I’m sure he’ll be paid handsomely for what amounts to less than three months in charge. Hey, it’s good work if you can get it.
0′ This is a big match for everyone involved. Villa want to be taken seriously as a title contender and would love to throw a wrench into the whole “Liverpool vs. Manchester United” discussion. Meanwhile, Chelsea need to right their ship, or else they could miss out on a Champions League spot next season.
0′ Welcome to Soccerlens’ live coverage of the huge Chelsea/Aston Villa match! I’m Victor and I’ll be your live-blogger today!
Well, Chelsea aren’t quite dead yet. This was a huge match for them, especially from a psychological standpoint. They responded in a huge way, winning three giant points against an in-form Aston Villa squad. Chelsea still have some question marks, especially in the back where Petr Cech continues to struggle and the defense was exposed a few times today. Against a team with better offensive creativity, they could have been breached for one or two goals. Still, there’s a lot to be proud of, and Chelsea will certainly cherish this win.
As for Villa, they showed some heart and spirit in the second half. The addition of Carew for Davies gives Villa an added dimension that could give a lot of other teams fits if they decide to use it regularly, especially late in matches. However, they lacked quality and creativity in the final third, which has been their problem all year. Their defense, normally reliable, clearly misses Laursen and they were very shaky, especially in the first half. Without some great saves from Friedel, this could have been a 2 or 3 goal loss.
Man of the Match:
It seemed like a much different Chelsea squad, as Drogba and Anelka seemed to work well together and Deco even showed some flashes of brilliance. Lampard, of course, was the difference maker, as his work to set up the lone goal was absolutely sublime. The knock of Lampard is that he disappears for stretches for the match, and that was the case a bit in the second half. However, he did a great job with his passing and nearly unlocked the Villa defense more than once with his dribbling and his vision. As for Villa, A. Young and Milner did very well attacking down the flanks, and Friedel did all he could to keep the match close. They’ll need more from Heskey and Agbonlahor if they want to mount a title run.