FULL TIME: 1-1.
90+4min: One last free kick to defend for Chelsea, and that’s that.
90+3min: Chilwell almost scores a goal of the season candidate, but his first-time volley grazes the outside of the post.
90+2min: Villa have a free kick in central midfield, which they chip in towards the area, but Chelsea defend it well.
90min: Good work from Werner and Pulisic on the right wins Chelsea another corner. Mount takes but Rüdiger can only head well wide. 4 minutes added on.
89min: Havertz wins a corner but Hause again heads clear.
88min: Chelsea manage to play ourselves into trouble, but Azpi wins the free kick off of Grealish to let us out.
86min: Mount sees a powerful drive from 25 yards blocked. Ex-Chelsea man Traoré’s off for Villa, with Davis on in his stead.
85min: Chelsea pressing, but not really able to create any real chances at the moment.
83min: Werner finds a loose ball in the area, but his effort is over the bar.
81min: Mount’s inswinger is an easy claim for Martínez. Jacob Ramsey on for the Villa goalscorer, El Ghazi. His first touch almost gets Villa’s second goal, but the shot fortunately goes wide of Mendy’s far post.
80min: Chelsea pressing, with Havertz and CHO combining wide right. The cross is cleared but only as far as Chilwell arriving at the top of the box. His first-time effort is cleared for a corner.
78min: Pulisic comes inside off the left and powers one towards goal from 25 yards. It might be going over, but the goalkeeper has to make sure. Mount’s corner is headed clear by Hause.
76min: Great flick from Havertz finds Azpilicueta on the wing, but his cross is behind everyone and Villa can clear.
75min: Azpi loses the ball at the top of the Villa box and Villa counter into his space with Grealish. Kanté’s back to make the most important interception on the pass infield from Grealish.
74min: Kanté into the book for a 50-50 with McGinn, who shouted really loudly.
72min: Werner and Havertz on for Giroud and Jorginho.
71min: Giroud and El Ghazi both into the book after a bit of off-the-ball chatter and close-talking. Silly, really.
70min: Mount back to clear an El Ghazi cross, as it’s suddenly end-to-end action.
69min: Lovely bit of play from Chelsea at the top of the area, with Kanté laying the ball off for Hudson-Odoi to hit first time. But Martínez is equal to his low, curling effort.
68min: McGinn thumps the angle of post and bar from 30 yards out of nothing! Wow.
66min: The first corner’s headed for a second, which Chelsea take short, then cross in. Pulisic’s header is cleared off the line, but Chelsea still manage to put the ball in the back of the net from the resulting scramble. Alas, the linesman’s flagging, and it looks like Pulisic was well offside on the initial header.
65min: Great ball from Azpi down the right towards Pulisic, but he delays his cross and then can’t get past his man. The midfield three press McGinn and win the ball back. Pulisic this time tries to pick out Hudson-Odoi on the far post, but Traoré’s back to head out for a corner.
64min: Chelsea corner as Hause heads clear a Chilwell cross ahead of Giroud.
59min: Pulisic gets to the byline and pulls it back across. Azpi’s arriving and he lays it off to Kanté, who has eons to pick his spot and shoot from 18 yards, but he puts it into the waiting arms of the goalkeeper.
58min: Kanté tries a long shot. Over the bar.
55min: Chelsea creating some half-chances with a few crosses into the box, but Villa staying strong and clearing them without too much trouble.
50min: Goal. Villa. Grealish and Christensen come together, with the latter staying down and the game carrying on. A cross from the right finds an unmarked El Ghazi at the far post, and he puts it between Mendy’s legs from point blank range. 1-1.
48min: Great ball in from Chilwell on the left, but Villa get a foot to it first. The ball spins high up in the air, but Giroud can’t quite control it and it goes out for a goal kick.
SECOND HALF: No changes for either side as Villa get us back underway.
HALF-TIME: Chelsea lead 1-0, having grown into the game after Villa’s positive start.
45+2min: Azpi fouls El Ghazi out wide, which earns him a yellow and Villa a free kick in a deep crossing position. Traoré flights one towards the area, Mount heads clear. Villa come again, and this time Rüdiger heads clear.
45+1min: Chelsea try to counter with Hudson-Odoi looking for Pulisic running through, but Villa are alert to it and cover well.
44min: Some strong hold-up from Giroud gets Chelsea moving forward, Pulisic and Mount combining to play in Chilwell. His cross is blocked for a corner, which Mount takes ... or would, but the referee stops play after a Traoré and Rüdiger tangle. With that sorted, Mount takes the corner straight into the arms of Martínez.
40min: Mount intercepts a square ball but Villa have enough back to prevent an easy shot. Mount plays wide to Pulisic, but he can’t get past his man. Villa try to counter from that, but Chelsea recover well enough.
39min: CHO switches to Pulisic with a lovely outside-of-the-boot pass, but Puli’s cutback is blocked. Mount picks up the loose ball, gets past a couple as he drives in the area, but his left-footed effort is blasted over the bar.
38min: From the other flank, an Azpi cross is an easy catch for Martínez.
37min: Kanté switches left to Pulisic, who takes it down well, drives at the defense and plays wide to Chilwell. But his cross towards the penalty spot only finds a Villa foot.
35min: VAR checking Chilwell for offside... but the check is over quickly and the goal is good!
34min: GOALLLLL GIROUDDDDD!!! Chelsea keeping up the pressure, again creating space on the left for Chilwell, who puts in a good ball that’s finished superbly by Giroud at the near post. 1-0, CHELSEA!
31min: Chelsea passing with some intent, creating space for Chilwell to cross. He aims for Giroud, but he’s pushed off the ball somewhat blatantly. No call again. From the corner, Chelsea play it around and cross for Giroud from the other flank. This time he’s got an arm around him, and again no call. The ball runs through to Pulisic, who boxes out the goalkeeper but can only hook the ball over the bar with a creative effort.
30min: Chelsea again having trouble playing, and Villa push on the left. Mendy gets his hands to the cross into the mixer, but is bodied off of it by a Villa player. No call from the referee, but Pulisic tracks back well to put a body on Cash as he follows up and puts his shot well over the bar.
29min: McGinn wins another foul in the center, but Grealish’s chip is cleared well by Giroud this time.
26min: Chilwell gets into crossing position for the first time in the game, but his ball is claimed well by Martínez just ahead of an arriving Giroud at the far post.
25min: Kanté blocks off McGinn and is called for a foul. Grealish puts in a great kick, which gives a free header to Watkins, but fortunately his effort well wide.
23min: Cash is up and walking around, and looks set to continue.
21min: Hudson-Odoi with a bit of space on the right, plays infield to Kanté, who chips into the box. Pulisic goes for an overhead kick, but finds only the defender Cash’s head, who got there first and stays down for treatment.
20min: Chelsea can’t quite play out, and it’s McGinn on the ball again. This time he finds Watkins, but his hopeful effort is well over the bar.
19min: McGinn able to hold off both Kanté and Mount, finding Traoré on the right. He cuts inside a couple, but Rüdiger sticks a leg out to block the shot.
16min: Hudson-Odoi loses the ball on the flank, with Grealish picking it up and driving past players to put a ball back across, which misses everyone. Pulisic tracks back on the far side, but can only put it out for a corner, which Traoré takes and Rüdiger clears.
14min: Mount finding space in the left channel, pulls one back for Pulisic, but his shot is blocked. Mount takes the corner, but Martínez makes the tough catch in the crowd. Villa try to counter, but Hudson-Odoi chases Traoré down and wins the ball and the foul.
13min: At the other end, Azpi puts a cross out for a corner, which Grealish takes, inswinging. Mendy catches at the near post.
12min: Pulisic intercepts a square ball and bursts into the area, past two defender, but can’t quite wrap his foot around the ball and his effort goes just wide. Chance, that.
10min: Hudson-Odoi drifts inside and finds Azpi on the right with a lovely ball, but the cross is blocked and the follow-up cross from the subsequent throw is an easy catch for the Villa goalkeeper.
7min: Grealish twists and turns and shoots, with Mendy parrying for a corner. Grealish goes low and hard from the corner towards El Ghazi, but his shot is blocked by Mount and Mendy can collect the loose ball.
5min: Giroud chests a ball from Pulisic into the path of Mount, but he’s chased down by McGinn. Mount wins a corner still, which he takes. Rüdiger sticks a leg out to fashion an acrobatic effort towards goal, but it lacks power and the goalkeeper can collect safely.
3min: Kanté again releasing Hudson-Odoi down the right, who finds Chilwell with a great switch. Traoré’s back to defend that, but Chelsea win a corner from the subsequent throw-in. Mount takes, but it’s cleared at the near post.
1min: Chelsea starting with some good early effort, but Azpi’s called for a foul high up on the right after Kanté had released Hudson-Odoi down the same flank.
KICK-OFF: The teams are out into the cold evening. Chelsea in all blue, with white socks. Villa in white with navy blue shorts and socks. Knees are taken and the whistle’s blown and we’re off. Chelsea get us started.
Just 48 hours after the disaster at the Emirates, Frank Lampard & Co have a massive task at hand to beat an in-form Aston Villa at the Bridge.
Feels like a season-defining match, in rather horrendous conditions. Hudson-Odoi starts, and there’s plenty of rotation in defense as well.
Here we go.
Chelsea starting lineup (4-3-3):
Mendy | Chilwell, Rüdiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta (c) | Mount, Jorginho, Kanté | Hudson-Odoi, Giroud, Pulisic
Substitutes from: Arrizabalaga, Silva, Tomori, Emerson, Kovačić, Gilmour, Havertz, Abraham, Werner
Aston Villa starting lineup (4-2-3-1):
Martínez | Targett, Hause, Konsa, Cash | McGinn, Douglas Luiz | El Ghazi, Grealish (c), Traroré | Watkins
Substitutes from: Heaton, Elmohamady, Guilbert, Engels, Taylor, Nakamba, Hourihane, J.Ramsey, Davis
Date / Time: Monday, December 28, 2020, 17.30 GMT; 12:30pm EST; 11pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Stuart Attwell (on pitch); Darren England (VAR)
On TV: none (UK); NBCSN, Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); SuperSport Premier League, Canal+ Sport 3 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: Amazon Prime (UK); NBC Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.