December 31, 2011

What happen Boas? Chelsea 1 Aston Villa 3

Andre Villas-Boas
STRUGGLING ... Andre Villas-Boas
ANDRE VILLAS-BOAS hit the boos as Chelsea were blown away by Aston Villa.

Blues were jeered by their own fans as Darren Bent completed Villa's amazing turnaround at Stamford Bridge.

Didier Drogba's 150th Chelsea goal had brightened the mood at the Bridge with the home faithful hoping to see a positive end to the year following three straight 1-1 draws.

But Stephen Ireland levelled before goals from Stiliyan Petrov and Bent helped Villa into the top half.

The result saw Chelsea slip out of the top four and Villas-Boas looks to be on borrowed time - despite assurances from upstairs that his job is safe.

Villa started brightly and looked a team far higher in the table as they refused to give the home side time and space.

But the visitors shot themselves in the foot in the 22nd minute when Richard Dunne lunged in on Drogba and referee Mark Halsey pointed to the spot.

Drogba stepped up to send his 150th Chelsea goal straight down the middle, celebrating by saluting the Shed End.

But as against Fulham on Boxing Day, the Blues conceded less than 10 minutes after taking the lead.

Charles N'Zogbia got to the byline and cut the ball back for Ireland, whose shot was blocked on the line by John Terry - possibly by a hand - straight back to the midfielder, who slotted home his first goal for Villa and first for more than two years.

Terry was then booked for clattering into Gabby Agbonlahor on the halfway line before Stephen Warnock threw himself forward to block Mata's shot.

Chelsea finished the half on top and Drogba saw two free-kicks go begging but the hosts were unable to make the breakthrough.

Chelsea started the second half as they did the first, Daniel Sturridge close to connecting with Mata's low cross.

But Villa remained a threat and James Collins almost inadvertently bundled home N'Zogbia's free-kick before Agbonlahor missed a glorious 53rd-minute chance on the break.

The visitors burst forward after a Chelsea attack, perfectly exploiting a three-on-one to release Agbonlahor, whose finish was too close to Petr Cech.

Villas-Boas threw on Frank Lampard for Oriol Romeu four minutes later, moments before Agbonlahor dragged another chance wide.

Mata almost conjured up a chance for Sturridge with some magical wing play, with the latter immediately replaced by Fernando Torres.

And the Spaniard was desperately unlucky not to make an instant impact, crashing a 30-yard shot against the crossbar.

Ashley Cole had a handball appeal against Dunne waved away by Halsey.

Drogba fired Torres' throughball wide, with Jose Bosingwa then replacing Ferreira for the final 15 minutes, the substitute immediately testing Brad Guzan from 25 yards.

Villa sent on Bent and Gary Gardner for N'Zogbia and Albrighton but remained on the back foot until dramatically taking the lead seven minutes from time.

Ciaran Clark was allowed to carry the ball forward and Petrov ran into what was mammoth gap between Terry and David Luiz to clip the ball over Cech.

Petrov limped off injured with Barry Bannan coming on and it was game over three minutes later, Lampard's pass intercepted by Ireland, who burst forward and squared for Bent to beat the onrushing Cech.

Chelsea: Cech, Ferreira (Bosingwa 75), Luiz, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Romeu (Lampard 57), Meireles, Sturridge (Torres 62),Drogba, Mata. Subs not used: Turnbull, Malouda, Kalou, Hutchinson. Booked: Terry. Goals: Drogba 23 pen.

Aston Villa: Guzan, Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Warnock, Albrighton (Gardner 78), Petrov (Bannan 84), Clark, N'Zogbia (Bent 78), Ireland, Agbonlahor. Subs not used: Marshall, Hutton, Delfouneso, Weimann. Booked: Cuellar. Goals: Ireland 28, Petrov 83, Bent 86.

Att: 41,332

Ref: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).
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