Chelsea had some promising spells, especially the ten minutes either side of the half, but in the end, it was yet another disappointing, frustrating, goalless, point-less afternoon at the Bridge.
It was a slow start from both teams, which was understandable from the visitors who were in action on Thursday, but was less understandable from the Blues, who were not. And it were Villa who had the better of chances in the first half, with Robert Sánchez called into action repeatedly and making a couple wonderful saves as well.
Chelsea eventually grew into the game, but our finishing continued to be well absent. Still, the ten minutes either side of the half were full of promise, with Enzo, Sterling, and Jackson all coming close and Axel Disasi seeing a nice headed effort ruled out for a clear offside.
And then the game changed drastically with the harsh red card (after VAR review) shown to Malo Gusto, who won the ball with a sliding challenge but caught Lucas Digne’s ankle on the follow through. In days past, that wouldn’t have been even a caution, let alone “excessive force” or whatever they call it these days.
Chelsea created a few dangerous chances despite the disadvantage, with Palmer and Chilwell making an impact off the bench. But it were Villa who managed to find a finish, with Watkins surprising Sánchez with an effort from a tight angle. It was an unfortunate moment for our goalkeeper, who made several excellent saves throughout the match, just as it was an unfortunate moment for Silva, whose error, the only one of the game, created that whole sequence in the first place.
So, another defeat. Another 90+13 minutes without a goal.
- Just one change from last weekend, with Caicedo coming back in for Ugochukwu
- Chilwell playing left back, Disasi right, after the red card
- Welcome back, Armando Broja
- Another refereeing masterclass, especially blowing up before the end of “minimum” added-on time in the first half
- Next up: Brighton at home in the League Cup, third round, on Wednesday