Chelsea’s recent slump continued after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge.
Frank Lampard made six changes to the side that started the dismal 3-1 Boxing Day loss to Arsenal, and after what was an even opening, it was one of those changes who bagged the opening goal just after the half-hour mark.
Chelsea worked the ball down the left, with the often dangerous Ben Chilwell unmarked and being able to pick out the aerial presence of Olivier Giroud with a first-time cross, the Frenchman stooping and twisting to steer his header beyond Emiliano Martinez from eight yards.
Villa equalised six minutes after the interval, however, and having earned himself a place in our Team of the Week for his performance at the weekend, Anwar El Ghazi netted his fifth goal in five games, meeting a Matty Cash cross at the back post before knocking it through the legs of Edouard Mendy. The goal was however laced with controversy as Chelsea appealed for a foul on Andreas Christensen in the buildup though it wasn’t overturned.
Aston Villa equalise!
— Amazon Prime Video Sport (@primevideosport) December 28, 2020
Both sides went for a winner, with the hosts seeing a Cesar Azpilicueta goal ruled out for an offside in the buildup, while dynamic Villa midfielder John McGinn saw a thunderous effort from range leave Mendy flat-footed, only for it to crash off the bar.
The result moves Villa up to fifth and Chelsea up to sixth, with Frank Lampard’s side now having only picked up four points from their last 15. Speaking afterwards though, the Blues boss insisted he was pleased with his side’s attitude, effort and all-round performance, with no players having let him down, unlike at the weekend.
“It was a good performance, we started really well,” he told Amazon Prime Video. “Villa had their moments but we came through them.
“We conceded with a man on the floor, that’s the way it is for us at the moment. Attitude-wise, effort-wise, some of the play was very good against a really good team.
“Late on we got some chances and nearly scored, when you’re in a tough moment things don’t quite go for you. A month ago we win that.
“I can’t ask for more from the players today. No-one let me down, everyone worked hard, we didn’t get the rub of the green.”
Chelsea are next scheduled to play Manchester City on January 3rd, though that game could be in doubt after the Citizens’ training ground was shut down due to a Coronavirus outbreak at the club, their game against Everton this evening having been called off.