The teams were greeted by row after row of empty seats, with many of a claret and blue persuasion having endured enough of this sorry excuse for a season.

There was little of note in the early stages of the game.

After nine minutes, a Villa free kick was wound into the penalty area but it proved a shade too high for Richards to reach.

A minute later, Pedro curled a decent effort wide of the right upright.

Ayew’s cross then found Gestede’s head and Courtois was forced off his line to deal with the header.

An inswinging Villa corner was dealt with competently by Courtois before Loftus-Cheek and Pedro began looking lively for the visitors.

Ironic cheering from the sparse home crowd met each pass in a long, fruitless string of them across the midfield.

Pedro got on the end of a Fabregas free kick and found the net, only for his effort to be ruled offside.

After Ayew won a corner, Sánchez skewed his shot, which went comically wide.

Loftus-Cheek opened the scoring after twenty-six minutes, netting his first Chelsea goal via a deflection off Lescott.

It was clear after thirty-one minutes that the Villans’ luck was not for turning: Ayew was incredibly unlucky not to equalise as he charged down a bizarre Baba clearance on the edge of the six-yard box.

Fortunate to avoid a second yellow, Fabregas gifted the hosts a free kick in a promising position. Although Ayew’s shot was on target, Courtois was untroubled by it.

As the Villans’ defensive efforts grew increasingly comical, Baba came close.

Meeting a Fabregas free kick, debutant Miazga was another Chelsea player who could have opened his account. Guzan did enough to deny his twenty-year-old compatriot.

With five minutes until the break, Ayew twisted past two Chelsea players before inching the ball wide.

As Pato was wrestled to the ground by Cissokho, it was clear that the visitors would be awarded a penalty to end the first half. The Brazilian stepped up and marked his debut by converting the penalty.

The second half began as badly as the first one had ended for the home team: Pato combined well with Oscar, who had replaced Kenedy at the break, and set up Pedro, who slammed home from close range just forty-eight seconds after the restart.

The hosts had no reply and it was 0-4 before the hour mark as a flapping Guzan could do no better than to palm Pato’s shot into the path of Pedro, who netted his second of the second half from a tight angle.

Bacuna and Grealish came on after sixty-six minutes, replacing Gil and Sánchez. The Curaçaoan’s arrival saw the atmosphere turn hostile, with chants of “Champions League? You’re having a laugh” ringing around an emptying Villa Park.

Westwood almost pulled one back for the home side after sixty-nine minutes but couldn’t make the contact required.

The home fans appealed for a penalty when Grealish went down rather easily under a Pedro challenge but their cries were in vain.

As ‘Proud history. What future?’ signs were held aloft in the seventy-fourth minute, the Villans actually came close to scoring. A surging Ayew played the ball to Gestede, who should have done better.

With little to entertain them on the pitch, some of the Villa fans turned their signs into paper planes and launched them enthusiastically towards the pitch. A landing plane from the Upper Holte was greeted with greater applause than anything the players had done on the pitch.

Having already been awarded a yellow card, Hutton was given his marching orders after eighty-five minutes for a dangerous tackle on Loftus-Cheek.

As a late chance for Ayew went begging, the game ended in another crushing defeat, meaning that relegation could be confirmed as early as next weekend.

Speaking after the game, caretaker manager Eric Black said:

“When your team is bottom of the league, you’ve lost seven games in a row and won only three all season, I can understand the disconnect for the supporters.

We have to ensure that we give the supporters something. It’s not the other way around. Something has to come back to the supporters because it has been a hard season and we’ll do our utmost to do that.”


  1. This team is pathetic and the club in general is a joke. The new board will make no difference as Lerner will still have the final say on finances because he controls the purse strings. Lerner has dragged the club down to an all time low where fans have no hope under his awful ownership. At least in the third division we had belief send hope for the future, we have no future under this clown and his puppets board.


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