Aston Villa made it an undefeated December as they came away from Stamford Bridge with a 1-1 draw against Frank Lampard’s Chelsea.
The media seemed to make a lot out of Chelsea’s ability to change six players in their starting line up while Villa only made the one, Ezri Konsa replaced the suspended Tyrone Mings. Both sides also played on boxing day so it meant it was just 48 hours since they both last played.
It was a tight encounter despite Chelsea being regarded as a title contenders after spending more than £220 million in the summer.
The first chance fell to Antonio Rudiger, one of the six new faces in the Chelsea line-up. The German international managed to get a flick on Mason Mount’s corner but Emi Martinez saved comfortably.
Just moments later it was Villa’s turn. Jack Grealish made his way down the left wing before cutting inside and fired a curling effort but Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy was able to turn it around the post.
The home side should have probably taken the lead when Grealish, with a rare error, his loose pass was picked up by Christian Pulisic, who then ran into the box but he could only fire his shot into the side netting.
Chelsea take the lead
Pulisic and Ben Chilwell were Chelsea’s biggest threat as Bertrand Traore didn’t seem as keen to help out Matty Cash with his defensive duties. Despite this Villa were starting to get a hold of the game, winning the ball with their high press without really looking a threat.
Villa had been warned about Chelsea’s threat when Pulisic’s effort when just over the bar from a Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross.
The goal would have frustrated Villa who had not conceded a goal so far this month. It was simple and should have been dealt with better. Pulisic found Chilwell on the left wing who in turn crossed the ball where Olivier Giroud lost his man to head home at the near post. There was a VAR check but it confirmed what most of us knew, Chilwell was onside, just.
Chelsea looked far more dangerous after their goal while Villa suddenly looked ‘leggy’. Dean Smith’s men needed the half time whistle.
Villa looked a different beast when they came out for the second half. They have lost every game this season where they have conceded first but they had other plans and it took them just five minutes before they were level.
Chelsea were unhappy. For some reason so where all Villa’s rival fans and of course Leeds fans. Leeds fans love an opinion on Aston Villa for some reason. Andreas Christensen injured himself when trying to foul Grealish as both players went down. The Villa captain got up and picked up the ball before playing out wide to Cash. The former Nottingham Forest defender whipped in a lovely ball from the right which Anwar El Ghazi volleyed past Mendy.
Both teams were getting chances as N’Golo Kante may have done better as he tried to place his effort on the edge of the box past the inform Martinez.
Chelsea thought they had regained the lead but it was quickly and correctly ruled offside. Konsa was abe to clear Pulisic’s effort off the line before Azpilicueta bundled the rebound over the line but replays showed Pulisic was originally in an offside position.
Then it was Villa’s turn, John McGinn, who was a warrior throughout, won the ball in the middle of the park before unleashing a spectacular shot but was denied as the ball came crashing back off the woodwork.
As the game progressed Chelsea looked more of a threat without really looking like they would score until the last kick of the game when Chilwell’s volley just went wide of Martinez’s post.
Not a bad December for Villa but they kick off January with an away tie against Manchester United.