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Chelsea 0-1 Aston Villa: Struggles continue as Watkins’ winner sees off 10-man Blues



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(Photo by IAN KINGTON/AFP via Getty Images)

Ten-man Chelsea were defeated by Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon at Stamford Bridge.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side had good chances against Unai Emery’s team, but they failed to score and lost their second game on the bounce at home this season.

On a Sunday afternoon that saw four Premier League games kick-off at 2pm BST, Chelsea were hopeful of picking up their second win of the season. The first shot on target came from the hosts in the opening five minutes, Moises Caicedo saw his strike from distance comfortably dealt with by Emiliano Martinez.

(Photo by IAN KINGTON/AFP via Getty Images)

A lot of good play in the early proceedings of the game came down the right-hand side, Raheem Sterling was finding space in behind the Villa defence. After he forced an early corner, there was an appeal for handball on Boubacar Kamara, but nothing was given.

The visitors grew into the game as it progressed, in the 20th minute they had their first real chance, Lucas Digne’s powerful volley from outside of the box had to be tipped over the bar by Robert Sanchez. Chelsea responded by countering, Nicolas Jackson was played through but he was overeager and got caught offside.

In the 24th minute, the Senegalese forward was sent bearing down on goal, a wonderful pass from Mykhailo Mudryk was met with a superbly timed run by Jackson, he failed to fire the Blues into the lead though, with Martinez making another smart stop.

(Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Sanchez was once again called into action just before the 30 minute mark, a deflected effort from Matty Cash saw the Spaniard drop down to his right and clutch the ball to deny the away team.

Chances continued to be exchanged between the two sides, Enzo Fernandez’s left-footed effort sailed wide of the goal and at the other end Douglas Luiz hit a free-kick high and wide. While Sanchez was untroubled by that effort, a superb reflex save from a corner ensured there was no change to the scoreline.

Just before half-time, the ball was in the back of the net, a thumping header from Axel Disasi delighted the home fans, the celebrations were cut short though as the Frenchman was in an offside position. The whistle for the interval sounded shortly afterwards, but bizarrely the referee blew a minute early, leaving the players frustrated.

(Photo by IAN KINGTON/AFP via Getty Images)

In the second 45, Chelsea were quick out the gates, Sterling crept in behind down the right-hand flank, but was unable to guide his strike past Martinez. Another couple of chances quickly followed, Jackson’s header from a delicate Fernandez cross went just wide and Sterling was once again denied by Martinez, both of the opportunities were called for offside.

Despite the west Londoners starting the half well, the game was spun on its head, Malo Gusto received his marching orders for a rough challenge on Digne. He was originally awarded a yellow, but it was upgraded to a red after a VAR review. In response to the sending off, Pochettino brought on Ben Chilwell for Mudryk.

(Photo by IAN KINGTON/AFP via Getty Images)

Naturally, the visitors began to take control of the game, while Chelsea’s only real openings came on the counter. More substitutions were made by the home side, Fernandez and Jackson were replaced by Lesley Ugochukwu and Cole Palmer.

Although the Blues had been the ones looking to counter, it was Villa who executed a counter-attack flawlessly. Ollie Watkins broke in behind, and despite an initial block from Levi Colwill denying his first effort, the ball fell back to him and he hit a low effort that beat Sanchez and clipped the post on its way in.

(Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Chelsea responded well, substitute Chilwell burst in behind but once again Martinez was up to the task and made a very good stop at his near post. In search of the equaliser, Pochettino made an attacking change, introducing the returning Armando Broja for Caicedo.

As the 90 minute mark was reached, it was confirmed there would be 11 minutes of added time, in the opening moments of stoppage time, there was a chance for Palmer, but his cushioned strike was blocked on its way to the goal.

There were no real late signs that Chelsea were going to get back into this contest, and the game finished 1-0. Boos rung around Stamford Bridge at full-time, a very frustrating afternoon.