Chelsea (J. Cole 21′, Anelka 43′) 2-0 Aston Villa
Stadium: Stamford Bridge, London, England
Competition: English Premier League
Date: 5 October 2008
Kickoff: 15:00 GMT, 10:00 ET
Injury-depleted Chelsea preserved their home unbeaten streak as they outclassed Aston Villa, 2-0. Soccerlens brought you the action live! Click below for the live blog!
Chelsea have been unbeatable at home, having gone 85 matches without a loss at Stamford Bridge. That streak should be put to the test as Aston Villa come to town. The Villans have put together an impressive string of victories in the Premiership and a strong showing against Chelsea would be a huge boost to their hopes of breaking into the top 4.
Aston Villa will never have a better shot at defeating Chelsea than this weekend, when Chelsea will have a number of injury issues. Deco, Joe Cole, Ricardo Carvalho, and Ashley Cole all missed Wednesday’s Champions League clash with CFR Cluj, and Didier Drogba suffered a serious knee injury during said match. John Terry and Alex also picked up minor knocks and, as a result, the Stamford Bridge training room will boast more talent and salary than a lot of Premiership teams.
Villa, on the other hand, will come into this match in relatively good health. The strike force of Agbonlahor and Carew continues to impress, while Gareth Barry seems to have shrugged off his disappointment at not moving to Anfield (at least, for now), and is playing well in midfield. New signee James Milner, as well as supersub Marlon Harewood (who scored in the UEFA Cup in midweek), give Villa an impressive array of attacking options, and Martin Laursen has been excellent ever since taking the armband from Barry.
It’s too early to tell if Aston Villa are for real, but we’ll find out a lot about them based on how they play against Chelsea. Meanwhile, if Chelsea can still win despite all their injury problems, then that will a huge boost for them, and a huge blow to everyone else in the league.
UPDATE: Deco, Carvalho, and Drogba have been ruled out. However, Nicolas Anelka now looks like he might miss out due to a knee injury. So, for those Chelsea fans who have been clamoring for a Kalou/Malouda partnership, you might get your wish now.
Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry (c), A. Cole, Mikel, J. Cole, Ballack, Lampard, Malouda, Anelka.
Subs: Hilario, Ferreira, Belletti, Mancienne, Bridge, Kalou, Di Santo.
A few unfamiliar faces on the bench, but otherwise, most of Chelsea’s starters will answer the bell. Anelka will start after all, although, due to his injury, I wouldn’t expect his best (but really, when have we ever expected him to be at his best?). Ivanovic will make his first Premiership start in place of the injured Carvalho. He’ll have his hands full with Carew and Agbonlahor breathing down his neck.
Aston Villa: Friedel, L. Young, Laursen (c), Davies, Shorey, Reo-Coker, Petrov, Barry, A. Young, Carew, Agbonlahor.
Subs: Guzan, Knight, Cuellar, Milner, Routledge, Harewood, Gardner
No surprises for Villa as they field the usual suspects. No changes at all from the side that beat Sunderland last week. I’d expect to see Milner come off the bench at some point, as I’m sure they didn’t pay all that money for him to rot on the sidelines. Looks like Steve Sidwell won’t be making his big Stamford Bridge return.
90′ + 4 Free kick for Villa as Terry commits the foul on Milner on the right wing. Free kick amounts to nothing and there’s the whistle. Thank you to everyone who followed along. It was a great victory for Chelsea and they look like the team to beat this year.
90′ + 3 Milner with the hard foul on Ashley Cole on the left wing. Lampard goes for goal, but it’s just over the bar. Meanwhile, Dirk Kuyt has scored the go-ahead goal for Liverpool. Also, Hull has defeated Tottenham. If heads don’t roll this week at White Hart Lane, then I don’t know what to think.
90′ + 2 Reo Coker goes past A. Cole and tries the long-range shot. Poor strike, though, and it’s well wide of the post.
90′ There will be four minutes added on. Like it matters. Mikel shoots from long-range again and it’s blocked. Interesting moment as Terry, once again, misjudges the 50-50 and nearly leaves Cech out to dry. Cech gets to it before Agbonlahor can do any damage. Terry certainly looks like a different defender without Carvalho protecting him, doesn’t he?
89′ Villa get mixed up again as they go on the attack and give it away. Lampard then shoots from the edge of the box, and it’s just wide of the post.
86′ So much for my prediction that Aston Villa would end the 85 match unbeaten streak. That’s why I don’t do predictions. I thought Ryan Leaf would be better than Peyton Manning, I thought that Juan Veron would be the greatest Manchester United midfielder ever, and I thought that Crystal Clear Pepsi would take the world by storm. Oh well.
85′ Belletti is fouled by Shorey in Villa’s half. Shorey gets booked for his efforts. Lampard’s free kick goes towards Di Santo on the far post, but he can’t handle it and Villa clear it away from danger.
84′ Lampard tries the shot from the edge of the box, and Friedel has to knock it away for a corner. Corner goes to Belletti, but his overhead shot goes out wide.
83′ Chelsea are knocking it around and seem content to run out the clock. Barry and Kalou get tangled up near the end-line and the ball somehow stays in. Villa clear it away and Malouda will come off for Belletti. Malouda gets a great ovation from the fans.
81′ Ashley Young lifts a cross towards the far post towards Barry, but it’s long and out for a goal-kick.
80′ Mikel makes the run towards the box and lays it off to Malouda. Mikel gets it back and tees it up from long-range. It’s wide of the mark and Villa escape again. Mikel seems determined to score from long-range today.
79′ Ballack has the good free kick opportunity just outside the box, but it’s over the crossbar.
78′ Petrov with the hard foul on Lampard outside the box and he’ll get booked for it.
77′ A. Cole with a good interception as he gets to Barry’s pass, which is behind Harewood. Barry has been terrible today. Combine this with his poor effort against Liverpool and he’s not making much of a case for himself to the big teams.
76′ Ballack gets fouled by Barry. Ballack then tries to get around Barry down the left edge of the box, but his first touch is too long and he can’t handle it. It’s out for a goal-kick.
75′ Kalou and Malouda do a fancy little one-two and Malouda tries the long-ranger. It’s blocked by Reo-Coker. Bosingwa with some great defense to take it away from Harewood.
74′ Free kick for Villa in Chelsea territory as Harewood is fouled. Ashley Young touches it to Petrov, but his effort gets blocked.
73′ Liverpool have pulled even with City on two second-half goals from Torres. Breathe easier Liverpool fans.
72′ Villa could still make this a game if they can score, but they haven’t shown that they are capable of it. Carew will go out for Harewood. Can the supersub make a difference here?
71′ Lampard is tackled in the box by Milner, but it’s clean and no penalty. Lampard isn’t calling for one, either.
70′ Poor pass from Barry and Chelsea are on the attack again. Di Santo gets it on the right edge of the box and he makes a good move to shake Laursen and gets the shot off. It’s wide of the post, but a good effort from the youngster.
69′ Lampard whips in the free kick towards Kalou in the middle. Friedel gets the first touch and knocks it out for the corner. nothing doing on the corner.
68′ Malouda gets thrown down by Cuellar on the left wing, and Cuellar is booked.
67′ Lampard with a nice cross that finds Kalou in the box. Cuellar with the good defense and the shot is off target.
65′ Nice one-two by Malouda and Lampard and Malouda’s shot is deflected out for a corner. Lampard whips it in and it goes out to Malouda on the edge of the box. He tries to put in the volley, but he mishits it. It comes back into the box, but Kalou is flagged for being off-sides. Malouda’s had a good string of strong appearances for his club.
64′ Young knocks Lampard’s cross out for a corner. Lampard’s cross goes into the box and Villa can’t clear it away. Terry flicks it back into the box and Ballack, Kalou, and Di Santo are there. They look confused (wouldn’t you be if there were three guys in blue standing unmarked in front of the goal?) and Ballack’s hasty header goes over the bar.
63′ A. Young with a curling cross to Barry, who makes a nice run into the box. It’s long, though, and Barry can’t do anything with it.
61′ Golden opportunity for Villa as Agbonlahor goes right at Terry on the 50-50 ball. Terry muffs his header and Cech has to come out to help. Agbonlahor keeps it and tries to cross it to Carew in the middle of the box, but there’s too much pace on the cross and Chelsea escape. It’s been that kind of day for Villa.
60′ Ashley Cole with a nice run down the left, but he gets dispossessed by Milner. A. Cole looks like a different man under Scolari. He’s looking like the two-way terror that played so well at Arsenal.
58′ Malouda lays it off to Ballack, who unleashes a rocket from the edge of the box. Friedel makes the good save and knocks it away towards the touchline. Lampard gets it back and crosses it from the right edge of the box to the far post. It’s just long, otherwise that could have been a goal opportunity.
57′ Joe Cole will come off and Kalou will come on. J. Cole gets a nice ovation from the crowd, and he deserves it.
56′ Mikel steals it and sends it ahead to Malouda. Reo-Coker gets back to slow him down and then Cuellar dispossesses him. Carew gets in deep and gets the pass from Milner. Carew tries to cross it, but it’s too close to Cech and that’s the end of that.
55′ Deep cross by Cuellar to Ashley Young, who is deep down the left flank. Young can’t handle it, though, and it’s a goal kick. Meanwhile, Joe Cole is limping badly and is probably going to have to come off soon.
54′ Cole is limping off the field and Terry is off the pitch as well. Maybe Chelsea feels bad for Villa? Maybe they know that they could beat Villa with 9 guys?
53′ Petrov with the hard tackle on J. Cole and Cole is down. England fans are holding their breaths. He’s been one of the best players for Capello over the last few months.
51′ Reo-Coker with the challenge on Lampard in the box. Lampard goes down, but no penalty is given.
50′ Joe Cole waltzes past Shorey and lays it off to Di Santo, who’s on the right edge of the box. He gets a shot on goal, but it’s a weak one and Friedel easily handles it.
49′ Joe Cole tries to make it a brace with the long-range shot, but it’s deflected out by Di Santo, who can’t get out of the way in time. Apparently, Di Santo has been compared to Leo Messi. That’s high praise indeed. Hopefully it isn’t because of their hairstyles.
48′ Good shot by Petrov as he creates some space on the edge of the box, turns, and shoot on goal. It’s just wide of the mark, though.
47′ Also, Hull is leading Tottenham at halftime. If Spurs lose that game, I think we can say goodbye to Juande Ramos.
46′ Villa kick off and here we go. A lot of changes to get to. Two changes for Villa as James Milner comes in for Luke Young and Carlos Cuellar is in for the shaky Davies. Chelsea also sends in Franco Di Santo for Anelka.
46′ Interesting score out of Manchester as City are leading Liverpool, 2-0, at halftime. Stephen Ireland and Javier Garrido have done the honors for City. That will certainly shake things up in the Premiership, should that result hold. Also of note: Bolton 3, West Ham 1. How do you lose at home to Bolton by a score of 3-1? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, I guess.
I guess rumors of Chelsea’s demise were greatly exaggerated. Aston Villa have been completely outclassed so far and it’s hard to see them getting back into the game. Chelsea blew the lead to Villa last season, but, Villa haven’t shown that they’re capable of holding onto the ball long enough or defending well enough to pull even.
45′ + 1 Anelka finds Joe Cole with the through-ball, but Cole shanks his shot wide of the post. There’s the whistle and we’re at halftime.
45′ One minute will be added on.
44′ Villa with a chance as Carew forces a save from Cech. It goes out to Agbonlahor on the edge of the box. It takes a bad bounce, so Agbonlahor can’t take the immediate shot, he shoots and it’s blocked by Mikel. Bosingwa then gets it and dribbles it away from the box, but Barry slides in late and is called for the foul.
43′ GOAL! Team effort for Chelsea as Lampard makes the run down the left and lays it off to Ashley Cole. Great cross by Cole back into the box and Ballack is unmarked. Ballack’s shot is saved by Friedel, but the rebound goes to Anelka. Anelka’s shot is saved by Friedel, but Anelka then knocks in the loose ball for the goal. Well, Friedel tried his best there, but his defense let him down.
41′ Finally a good sequence by Villa as Agbonlahor’s cross into the box nearly finds Carew. It’s knocked away and then Malouda gets called for the foul on Luke Young. Barry takes the freebie from about 45 yards away. The service into the box is knocked away by Cech.
39′ Lampard flicks it to J. Cole, but he can’t get to it. Mikel tries another long-range shot (why is he taking all these long-range shots?) and it’s easily blocked. J. Cole then tries a shot/cross attempt and Friedel catches it.
38′ Corner goes to Ballack on the far post. He can’t get his header on target and Villa knock it away. Villa are getting completely outclassed right now. If they can go into halftime down 1-0, then they should thanking their lucky stars.
37′ More good movement by Chelsea as Ballack sends it over-the-top to A. Cole down the middle of the box. He sends it back out to Anelka, whose shot is deflected out for a corner.
36′ Joe Cole makes a move on Shorey and tries to get around him. He creates some space to shoot, but he has a poor angle. Friedel easily catches it and sends it away. Reo-Coker shoves Ballack to the ground and is called for the foul.
33′ Ballack finds Anelka with a nice through-ball into the box. Anelka is out of position as Laursen plays him well, and passes it back to Malouda. Malouda shoots it, but Friedel makes the diving save. Well, Friedel’s certainly had a busy day so far. Villa fans should be thankful they have him and not Scott Carson.
32′ Villa have yet to get anything going and are really shaky in the back. Mikel tries to make the run into the box, but his first touch is too strong and he gives it away.
30′ Ivanovic fouls Carew near midfield. On the free kick, it’s too close to Cech, and he easily handles it.
29′ Lampard with a great strike that Friedel makes the reflex save on. Great kick from Lampard as he had plenty of pace and bend on it. Friedel made a great save on it.
28′ Lampard is fouled outside the box by Davies, and Chelsea will have a good free kick chance here.
27′ Dangerous back pass by Davies takes a few bounces and is nearly disastrous for Villa. Friedel is able to kick it away before Malouda could get to it. Otherwise, that would have been an embarrassing howler.
25′ Cross is towards Ivanovic and Terry. Ivanovic heads it over the bar. Anelka tees it up from long-range and he hits the crossbar. Wow. Did I say that I thought Chelsea would lose today?
24′ Bosingwa’s cross is knocked out by Shorey for a corner.
23′ Mikel tries to beat Friedel from long-range, but his soft shot is easily handled by Friedel. Villa can’t keep possession long enough to build up any kind of attack.
21′ GOAL! Malouda makes a good run into the box and lays it off to Lampard. Lampard finds an unmarked Joe Cole running down the right and Cole blasts it past Friedel. Well, you knew it was coming.
19′ Barry tries to catch Cech napping and goes for the long-range shot. It’s over the bar and out of play.
18′ Almost a goal from Chelsea as Ballack lifts a cross from the left edge of the box towards the fall post towards Anelka. Anelka keeps it alive and flicks it to a charging Lampard. Lampard’s header hits the side netting and even the announcers think it’s a goal and put it on the board for Chelsea. No dice, though, but Chelsea are knocking on the door.
17′ Bosingwa gets past Ashley Young, but his cross is too strong and goes out past the touchline for a Villa throw.
16′ Lampard tries to pass it to Joe Cole, but Cole wasn’t expecting it. Villa on the attack, but Ashley Young gives it away. Sloppy play by Ballack and Malouda as they both overshoot each other on passes and end up giving it back to Villa.
14′ Reo-Coker takes an ill-advised shot from long-range, but it’s well off target. Roman Abramovich is in the house. I thought he stopped coming to games.
13′ Villa on the attack. Ivanovic concedes the corner as he knocks Reo-Coker’s cross out. Corner is knocked out past the box. Petrov tries to tee it up from long-distance, but it’s blocked.
11′ Lampard finds Anelka with a nice through-ball. Anelka runs down the left edge of the box and tries to cross it across goal. There’s no one there to get on the end of it and Villa dodge a major bullet. Oh wait. The flag was up on Anelka, so it wouldn’t have counted anyway. Oh well. Good movement from Chelsea, though, as they’re really putting the pressure on Villa.
10′ Ballack’s free kick goes into the wall. It goes to Bosingwa again, who lifts the cross into the box towards Malouda. It’s long and Malouda can’t reach it. You wonder if either of those would have found the back of the net if Drogba were playing.
9′ Carew fouls Ballack and Chelsea will have a good chance here. They’re about 40 yards out or so (I’m never good with estimating distance).
8′ Bosingwa lifts a great cross into the box towards Anelka, but it’s just out of his reach. Great ball from Bosingwa, who continues to impress.
7′ Malouda’s turn to test Friedel from long-range, and the American turns it away. It bounces to Shorey, who clears it from danger.
6′ Corner goes to Anelka on the far post. Anelka goes down and wants a penalty on Luke Young, but the refs aren’t buying it.
5′ Chelsea on the attack. Bosingwa lays it off to Ballack, who unleashes a great strike on target that forces a great save from Friedel. It’s out for a corner.
4′ Reo-Coker makes the run towards the box and Mikel is called for a foul. Villa will have a free kick from about 40 yards out or so. Barry sends in an enticing pass into the box towards Carew, but Carew can’t get his head on it and it goes out for a goal-kick.
2′ Shorey tries to spring Carew for a run down the left, but the flag is up and Carew’s off-sides.
1′ Chelsea kick off and here we go! Early shot by Ivanovic and it’s easily blocked. Well, he certainly didn’t waste any time, did he?
0′ I doubt we’ll get a repeat of last year’s 4-4 draw. The weather is good in London, today, so at least that won’t be an excuse. Here come the teams out of the tunnel and no, the M*A*S*H theme is not playing in the background.
0′ I bet the board wishes they didn’t sell Shaun Wright Phillips to Manchester City. I know they thought they were getting Robinho, but it’s not like they had to shed payroll in order to finance Robinho’s transfer or anything. They could use SWP today. Especially if Joe Cole is hurt worse than they’re letting on.
0′ Steve Sidwell should show up in his sweats and sit in the stands, looking longingly at the field. It will be like old times.
0′ Can Aston Villa snap Chelsea’s 85 match unbeaten streak at Stamford Bridge? I’m going to go out on a limb and say yes. I like how Aston Villa have been playing, as of late, and Chelsea are banged up. Even though Anelka, Joe Cole, Ashley Cole, and John Terry all passed fitness tests, they can’t all be 100%, right? And Chelsea’s streak has to end at some point right? RIGHT?!
0′ Welcome everyone to Soccerlens’ coverage of Chelsea v. Aston Villa. I’m Victor and I’ll be your liveblogger.
There should no debate over who’s the best team in the Premiership right now. Chelsea dominated a match that many thought they either lose or draw. It’s hard to tell whether this was a case of Aston Villa not being ready for prime time or if they just ran into a buzzsaw, but Chelsea look unbeatable right now. The match was far more lopsided than the final score indicated. Right now, it’s looking like a two horse race between Chelsea and Liverpool. We’ll see if Manchester United and Arsenal can get their acts together, but Chelsea and Liverpool are clearly a class above everyone else right now.
Man of the Match:
Great team effort from Chelsea once again. Bosingwa continues to show why he was a great signing over the summer. He and Ashley Cole are starting to form a great partnership at the corners. Ballack and Anelka both had their moments in this match, and Lampard and Joe Cole continue to play well in midfield. The defense wasn’t tested, but Terry had some anxious moments today. Against a better side, they may very have been exposed. Still, no reason for Scolari to worry. As for Villa, it’s hard to praise any of them, but Brad Friedel single-handedly kept Villa from getting blown out. He continues to put in yeoman-like performances, regardless of whether it’s for Blackburn or for Villa. Still, the nod goes to Malouda. As I mentioned, he’s had a number of great performances for his club, and today was no different. He was excellent on the attack and generated a number of chances for his teammates. He’s playing like a different man than last season, and that’s a good thing for Chelsea.