All the latest Aston Villa news following the loss to Chelsea
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Villa fall to Chelsea
Two goals in two minutes killed off Aston Villa’s chances of a shock victory against Chelsea.
Kortney Hause put Dean Smith’s resilient side into a surprise lead two minutes before the break after what was a dominant half by the Londoners.
The centre-back made the most of a parry from Kepa Arrizabalaga and squeezed in a scuffed, right-footed shot before wheeling away in celebration.
Amid all of Chelsea’s possession, goalkeeper Orjan Nyland was made to work just twice in the opening 45 to deny Mason Mount on both occasions, the first of which was a rasping drive from 20 yards.
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After the break, Chelsea continued from where they left off but it wasn’t until Frank Lampard’s inspired substitutions 10 minutes into the second half that forced the comeback.
The bright Christian Pulisic was allowed to ghost in past Ezri Konsa to volley home a deep Cesar Azpilicueta cross. Then, less than two minutes later, it was the Chelsea skipper Azplicueta who was at it again, this time finding space down Konsa’s side to cross for Olivier Giroud.
The Frenchman, who started in place of last season’s Villa goal ace Tammy Abraham, was allowed too much time to swivel and shoot with his effort ricocheting off Conor Hourihane’s studs before flying into Nyland’s top corner.
Knowing the game was all but over, Chelsea kept possession and allowed Villa to gather any kind of momentum. Mbwana Samatta, who came on for Keinan Davis, was restricted to scraps as Lampard’s Blues continued to turn the screw.
In the end, the match swung on two lapses of concentration on Villa’s part after looking assured and together for the best part of an hour. Games, as everyone knows, are 90 minutes long and Smith’s men will have to pick themselves up quickly ahead of what surely must be a must-win fixture against Newcastle on Wednesday.
The new age of football allows us to hear more than ever, thanks to the lack of fans – including Jack Grealish’s naughty language.
Grealish was fouled nine times against Chelsea which saw the midfielder break the record for the most fouled player in a Premier League season.
His frustration boiled over in the closing stages and he was shown a yellow card by referee Paul Tierney.
Microphones clearly picked up Grealish shouting “shut the f*** up” in a coming together with Chelsea players, for which the 24-year-old received his booking.
Ezri Konsa also picked up a booking for Villa while N’Golo Kante was the only Chelsea player to be cautioned.
Grealish was again deployed out wide by Dean Smith and wasn’t able to add to his tally of seven league goals and six assists for the season.
Dean Smith believes Aston Villa have what it take to stay up despite the club’s fifth defeat from six in the Premier League.
A 120-second collapse at the hands of Chelsea undid Villa’s resolve, with Villa hardly laying a glove on Frank Lampard’s side but for a rare Kortney Hause strike.
Villa remain 19th, a point behind Bournemouth and West Ham United directly above them.
“We’re no further away from Bournemouth and the other teams down there,” Smith replied, when asked if his side have enough to beat the drop. “We’ve got a good enough chance as the other teams down there.”
The boss also responded to a question asking should Villa be asking more questions of the opposition given their current predicament.
He said: “I’d love to ask more questions, yeah. You’ve got to get the ball off the opposition. We showed a lot of spirit in the last 15 minutes.
“Today, we’ve come up against a top-four team in the last 15-20 years. It was never going to be easy.
“We took the lead and remained hopeful we’d keep the clean sheet. A bit of quality and a little bit of fortune made a difference.”
It was the second game without supporters inside Villa Park and, when asked if having no fans could drastically affect the club’s survival chance, he said: “It doesn’t worry me. The advantage you lose is at home now is the influence supporters can have over officials. That’s one of the biggest advantages you probably lose.
“The two games we’ve played at home the players have been in the zone, the coaching staff as well.
“We should have won the first game against Sheffield United but for missed chances. We knew it was going to be tough.
“Training sessions have been good, performances have been good.”
“Embarrassed. If Smith ever sets up like that again, I want his desk packed up by the following morning. For 65 minutes we sat in our own box and didn’t block a single cross, just hoping we’d clear it. That’s not why we hired him.”
“Why do we only turn the screw when we go one down. Why can’t we play football to win?”
“Think we’re down. Not because of this result specifically, but because we’re not any better now than we were pre-break. 17 points dropped from winning positions.”
“Same as Wednesday. Lack of urgency, creativity and positivity. Like it has been all season tbh.”
“Gutless. Hello Championship.”