Aston Villa have picked up another point on the road away at Stamford Bridge this evening.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa’s festive period continued this evening with a tie against Frank Lampard’s Chelsea side at Stamford Bridge, with the Blues fresh off a defeat against a struggling Arsenal side just two days ago.
Dean Smith’s side however, were enjoying fine form in the run up to this game – and had not conceded in over 400 minutes of football. With a much-changed Chelsea side picked, and both sides around the same place in the league – it was all to play for in South West London.
The early periods of the game belonged very much to Chelsea, but it was Jack Grealish who forced the first save over the evening, cutting in onto his right and forcing Mendy into a full-stretch save, with the ball going out for a corner. Anwar El Ghazi had an effort from the corner which deflected awkwardly into Mendy’s hands.
A poor pass from the aforementioned Grealish allowed Christian Pulisic through on goal for a chance to take first blood, but the American winger fired wide luckily for the Aston Villa captain.
Matty Cash thought his evening was going to be cut short in the 23rd minute after Pulisic’s high boot made contact with his head – but the right-back continued after a number of checks.
Aston Villa’s nemesis (we seem to have a few), Olivier Giroud opened the scoring of the affair. The Frenchman headed well at the end of Chilwell’s cross as the ball trickled just out of reach of Emiliano Martinez, with ten minutes remaining in the half. This was his 10th in 10 appearances against Villa.
Cesar Azpilicueta was booked in added time for Chelsea as he stopped a marauding Anwar El Ghazi with an outstretched arm.
The second half saw Aston Villa start in the perfect way, with Anwar El Ghazi finding the net at the far post in the 50th minute to level the scoreline. He met Matty Cash’s cross perfectly, before sidefooting the ball between Mendy’s open legs.
The game opened up a little into Chelsea’s favour, and just after the hour mark they thought they had taken the lead once more, with Azpilicueta finding the net after Konsa’s clearance off the line – but Pulisic was offside after playing a role in the build-up.
Just moments later, and John McGinn rattled Mendy’s crossbar with a thunderous effort that left the ‘keeper rooted.
The early 70’s saw Giroud and Jorginho replaced by Timo Werner and Kai Kavertz for Chelsea.
With ten minutes remaining, youngster Jacob Ramsey replaced goalscorer Anwar El Ghazi for Aston Villa. Within just seconds, Ramsey curled an effort just wide of the far corner after linking up well with Ollie Watkins.
In the final four minutes, Bertrand Traore was replaced by Keinan Davis.
Ben Chilwell had the hearts of Villa fans in their throats in the third minute of added time at the fullback striked at the far post on the volley, which just narrowly skimmed wide of Martinez’ goal.
Aston Villa had a chance at the death with a corner, but it was collected well by Mendy.