Aston Villa player ratings gallery vs Chelsea: Two score 9/10 but one 4/10 in 2-0 victory
Player ratings from Chelsea 0-2 Aston Villa, as two Villa players score 9/10 but one is handed a 4/10.
Aston Villa finally rocketed into the Premier League top half on Saturday afternoon as they were clinical to beat Chelsea 2-0 away at Stamford Bridge. Heading into the game level on points mid-table, it was very much a battle for the top 10 but it was the visitors who came out on top. Unai Emery’s side held on after Ollie Watkins’ 18th-minute dink and John McGinn’s swerving second half strike, absorbing heaps of pressure from Chelsea - including a disallowed Ben Chilwell goal. Home supporters booed The Blues down the tunnel at full time in a mass critique of their display.
The hosts enjoyed plenty of the ball in the opening minutes and very nearly had the lead as Villa dealt themselves a nightmare situation passing out of defence. Emi Martinez and Boubacar Kamara were close to causing their own catastrophe as Villa’s goalkeeper made a soft pass to Kamara in his own area. The midfielder didn’t react quick enough and Mykhailo Mudryk pounced, but Martinez did well to smother the Ukrainian’s close-range effort to keep the score at 0-0.
Unai Emery’s side had their own opportunity to take the lead shortly after though, as Martinez went direct to John McGinn, who played a wonderful through ball to Ollie Watkins. The in-form forward was out of Chelsea’s sights but fluffed his lines, dragged his shot wide of the left post. Watkins was furious with himself after that miss, and rightly so. Villa had the next big chance of the game too, as McGinn found space on the counter and hit first time, catching it brilliantly, but his 20-yard curled shot clipped the top of the crossbar and went behind. It was a lovely turn from Emi Buendia to create the chance.
Villa’s pressure in response to Chelsea’s early chance paid off when the clock struck the 18th minute, as Douglas Luiz lofted a beautiful pinged pass over the top and Marc Cucurella couldn’t deal with it, heading it straight into Watkins’ path through on goal. The Englishman was the coolest man at Stamford Bridge as he ran onto the ball, dinking it over Kepa Arrizabalaga on the hall-volley and seeing the net ripple. Running off in celebration with his fifth goal in as many away games, the striker shushed the home support with a finger to his lips.
Chelsea were on the ascendency after Villa’s goal and were patient to create their next big chance. It was worth the wait as it was a huge one, but as so often has been the case for The Blues this season, it was a chance that went begging. Mudryk found himself in acres of space with just Martinez to beat but he couldn’t get any power behind his shot, hitting it straight into the Argentine’s grasp. After that, the opportunities just kept coming for Graham Potter’s men - with the biggest for Ben Chilwell who hit the post from 10 yards -but yet again they were unable to convert, causing outrage in the stands. The frustration kept coming for the home support just before the break as Chilwell found the back of the net with a header from an Enzo Fernandez cross, but the goal was swiftly ruled out for a push on Ashley Young.
The home side maintained their control at the start of the second period but Villa did well to sit in and absorb the pressure and actually looked more threatening with the ball, even with their lack of it. Advancing on the counter, The Villans won a corner and what came next sent the traveling support into raptures. Jacob Ramsey picked up a loose ball from a corner and laid it back to McGinn, who was waiting on the edge of the penalty area. The Scotsman was allowed far too much time by Chelsea’s defenders and was able to pick his spot, curling a stunning strike with power into the bottom-right netting. Kepa had no chance and McGinn wheeled away into a celebratory slide; Villa two to the good.
Potter was left exasperated even further a few sequences of play later as substitute N’golo Kante - on for his first appearance since August 14 - had a glorious opening but put his shot dribbled to the left of the goal. Emery displayed his frustrations on the touchline at his team allowing Chelsea so many chances, but the story of the afternoon continued with Villa hanging on. Things solidified for the men in claret as the game approached its finale, with the hosts unable to break through as much as they were earlier on. That’s the way the fixture ended, with Villa running out 2-0 victors thanks to some brilliant teamwork. Here are our player ratings from the game.