Lambert’s Lions were lively from the off and their attacking approach paid dividends in the fifteenth minute when Sylla sent Benteke a fine through ball. Villa’s number 20 outwitted former Villan Cahill to squeeze a low shot past Cech’s near post, sending a packed Villa Park into raptures.
The European Champions were clearly irritated and their frustration was showing: just a minute after falling behind, Ramires found himself in the book for a suspicious swipe at Benteke.
As Villa Park rocked, Delph shot narrowly wide before the rapturous nineteenth minute applause in the presence of Stan himself.
Guzan showed why he’s become a firm Villa favourite with a fantastic reaction save, pushing Lampard’s free-kick onto the right post before blocking Mata’s ensuing close-range follow-up.
For all the moaning about Lee Mason, Benteke seemed rather fortunate to escape with a yellow card after catching Azpilicueta in the face with his elbow.
On the verge on half-time, Mason did indeed reach for a red, after showing Ramires his second yellow of the afternoon for a high boot on Agbonlahor.
With the advantage of an extra man, the home side began the second half as brightly as they had the first and were unlucky not to strengthen their lead as Sylla then Agbonlahor both shot over Cech’s crossbar.
Benteke’s game, and his attempt to beat Withe’s record, was brought to a hault just before the hour mark when he received his second caution for a raised boot on Terry, who writhed on the ground in dramatic style.
Two minutes later, Chelsea drew level, with Lampard fooling Baker and firing beyond Guzan’s grasp.
Sylla then denied Cahill on the line and the onrushing Ba seemed to cross the line but Mason waved play on.
Seconds later, Terry collapsed to the ground once again after a collision with Villa captain Vlaar and was eventually stretchered off.
As the minutes ticked by, Villa remained on the attack and Cech made a good save from a powerful Westwood shot. However, Lampard bagged his brace with two minutes of normal time left on the clock, sweeping home Hazard’s cross from close range to beat Guzan – and Tambling’s record – with his 203rd Chelsea goal.
It was a game marred by bizarre decisions from Lee Mason and all claret and blue eyes now turn to Wigan Athletic’s game against Arsenal on Tuesday.
The disappointment didn’t dampen the capacity crowd’s desire to salute Petrov, who led the team on the emotionally-charged traditional lap on appreciation, as he offered his farewell as captain and as a footballer.