Villa whip Chelsea

2014-03-15 23:00

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Jose Mourinho has, in the past, looked to downplay Chelsea’s chances of winning the Premier League title?–?and he may now have reason to do so after his side lost 1-0 to Aston Villa last night.

Of late, the Portuguese tactician has exercised extreme control over proceedings while those around him wilted.

But last night at Villa Park it was Mourinho who came unstuck as he saw two of his players shown red cards while the manager himself was also sent to the stands.

In what was always an open game, it was the 70th-minute dismissal of Willian that proved the turning point.

Both sides had their chances in the opening 15 minutes with Christian Benteke and Fernando Torres coming a hair’s breadth away from getting on the end of teasing balls into the box.

It was Chelsea who had the better of the opening quarter though, but Villa began to grow into the game as the match progressed.

Benteke came close to opening the scoring just after the half-hour mark with the Belgian’s shot from the edge of the area just shading to the right of Petr Cech’s goal.

Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic thought he had broken the deadlock in the closing stages of the opening period when he bundled the ball into the back of the net at the far post from a tight angle.

However, while referee Chris Foy was happy to award the goal, his assistant was wise to Matic’s use of his arm to control the ball.

The visitors started the second half strongly and began to assert themselves on a Villa side who momentarily started to look a bit shaky at the back.

Keeper Brad Guzan would have been a relieved man when he wasn’t punished for flapping at an Ivanovic cross in the 50th minute, with the ball travelling out to Eden Hazard whose deflected effort was then saved by the American.

Villa refused to sit back and continued to attack with great energy and enthusiasm.

This forced Mourinho into shuffling his team by replacing the disappointing duo of Torres and Oscar.

The Blues boss would have been hoping for an immediate impact and he got one?–?but not the one he would have desired as Willian was shown a second yellow card for a push on Fabian Delph.

The game opened up after Chelsea went down to 10 men and Villa looked the most likely to score with Ron Vlaar’s header in the 81st minute flashing just wide.

Less than a minute later, the deadlock was finally broken in a fantastic fashion.

Delph worked hard to feed Marc Albrighton down the left, with the replacement squaring the ball back to the midfielder who produced a superb flick with his left foot to leave the ball nestling in the far corner of Cech’s goal.

From there it was all Villa, with Delph having a brilliant chance to make it two.

However, the game ended on an unsavoury note with Ramires red-carded for a disgraceful stamp after he had been beaten to the ball by Karim El Ahmadi. Mourinho refused to let the matter rest and was also dismissed.

Having seen Manchester City beat Hull earlier in the day, the Blues lead at the top of the standings was cut to six points and their advantage is now under further threat with Arsenal and Liverpool in action today.

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