Reflection: Chelsea 2-1 Aston Villa – Resistance is futile

It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times.

From the sublime build up play and cross by Elmohamady, leading to Trezeguet’s first half equaliser.

To the complacent defending that gifted Tammy Abraham the opener.

This was a muted Villa performance, bringing us back to earth after a promising away draw at Manchester United.

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REFLECTION

This was a decidedly impressive Chelsea side.  A slick passing side, with a well drilled shape and one that moved the ball with purpose.

Villa took a little time to settle into the game, with Abraham cutting a lanky, predatory figure on his return from injury and Mount eager to underline why he’s getting the nod ahead of Grealish for England.

It ultimately turned into a night of reflection as to where exactly we are at.

Konsa and Mings didn’t quite click.

Hourihane suddenly seemed light.

John McGinn, playing deeper in recent weeks, looked like a man to have single handedly carried Scotland’s international hopes.  A cynical foul upon the dangerous Willian in the first half was evidence of the former Hibs midfielders frustration.

Up front, Wesley struggled.

The Brazilian continues to be Marmite amongst supporters.

The various schools of Villa thought probably should arguably meet to discuss their differences.

One third highlights Wesley’s isolation.  The next questions his inability to hold up a football.  The final bemoans a chronic lack of service.  None of them are wrong.

KEY MOMENTS

Abraham flourished at Villa, we saw him consistently rattle in goals in The Championship that formed a major reason for our ascendancy back to the Premier League.

We know that his strength is finding opportunities to score.  We know that his weakness is that he often requires more than one opportunity to do it.  It was a puzzle to watch him be repeatedly granted space in the heart of our defence.  For this we were punished, with Abraham planting a header beyond Heaton.

We displayed our potential though, with a fine interchange of passing ending with a fantastic Elmohamady cross being bundled over the line by Trezeguet.  It was the first time two Egyptian’s had combined to score in the top flight and they did so with their countries Ambassador watching on.

It was a great goal, evidencing great resolve and determination.

However, it was certainly against the run of play, but sent us in level at half-time.

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The second half saw Chelsea dominate for sustained periods, with a trench like mentality almost setting in.

Mason Mount, unfathomably just 20 years old, rifled home a fierce volley in the early stages of the half to give Chelsea the lead and ultimately the victory.

Heaton, whose mere presence reminds us weekly just how poor Villa goalkeeping has been for years, pulled off yet another outstanding stop.  The England number 2 somehow saving an audacious freekick onto the post when it seemed destined only for the top corner.

The substitutions of Hourihane for Luiz on 60 minutes was important, but it was a change that a manager like Mourinho would have made inside half an hour.  Jota, returning after a hernia operation, provided some neat play but was ineffective in the last quarter.

Defeats at Chelsea will not be the measure of Villa’s season, and there are glimmers of the potential within the squad.  However, we must cut out unforced errors, find a solution for our impotency up front and learn from our experience at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea 2-1 Villa
  • Tom Heaton
  • Ahmed Elmohamady
  • Esri Konsa
  • Tyrone Mings
  • Matt Targett
  • John McGinn
  • Marvellous Nakamba
  • Conor Hourihane
  • Mahmoud Trezeguet
  • Wesley
  • Jack Grealish
  • Douglas Luiz (Sub On)
  • Jota (Sub On)
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