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    Chelsea 2-0 Aston Villa - Match report

    by Conall Green

    Chelsea eased the pressure on manager Jose Mourinho with a 2-0 home win over Aston Villa on Saturday which sees the reigning champions in 12th position, 10 points behind current league leaders Manchester City.

    A goal from Diego Costa and an own goal from Villa right back, Alan Hutton, either side of half time gave the home side victory, and made Tim Sherwood’s position as manager of Aston Villa look even more precarious.

    Mourinho made five changes to the team defeated 3-1 at home to Southampton last time out, with Costa returning from suspension, and Pedro, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Kurt Zouma also coming in to the starting 11. There was also a debut at left back for Baba Rahman, signed from Augsburg this summer. Out went Radamel Falcao, Oscar, Gary Cahill, the injured Branislav Ivanovic and, most surprisingly, last season’s Player of the Year, Eden Hazard. Mourinho indicated that Hazard had been dropped as he was not doing enough for the team defensively.

    Tim Sherwood again chopped and changed his line-up in an effort to find a winning formula. Out went Jose Angel Crespo, Jordan Veretout, Jordan Amavi and Scott Sinclair, to be replaced by Carles Gil, Kieran Richardson, Jack Grealish  and Jordan Ayew.

    Villa had the better of the opening exchanges, and looked more likely to break the deadlock in the first 30 minutes. However, in the 34th minute, an unforced error gifted Chelsea the opening goal.

    Villa keeper Brad Guzan received a back pass which Costa closed down. Instead of launching the ball long, the American over-hit a pass to Joleon Lescott, who miscontrolled, allowing Willian to nip in. The Brazilian midfielder advanced towards goal before squaring unselfishly to Costa, who had the easiest of tasks to tap the ball home despite the despairing efforts of Micah Richards. It was a goal that was symptomatic of Villa’s struggles so far this season. Costa will have been relieved to find his name on the scoresheet once again, as it was the striker’s first goal in the Premier League since 23rd  August.

    The score remained at 1-0 to Chelsea at the interval, but it was not long into the second period when the home side doubled their advantage. Costa collected a clipped through ball from Cesc Fabregas inside the Villa penalty area and turned before getting a shot away. His off target effort struck Villa defender Hutton, before looping over the stranded Guzan and nestling in the net. From that point on, the result was never in doubt, and the lack of belief shown by Villa has to worry their supporters. Villa manager Sherwood is now odds on with the bookmakers to be the next Premier League boss to lose his job, with his team sitting 19th in the division. Failure to win against Swansea City at Villa Park would surely prove terminal.

    For Mourinho, it is Champions League action away at Dynamo Kiev before West Ham at Upton Park, two more ‘must win’ games for the Portuguese coach.

    Man of the match: Diego Costa. Involved in both goals. His lack of form has been a big part of the Champions’ struggles so far this term.
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    Item Reviewed: Chelsea 2-0 Aston Villa - Match report Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Conall Green
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