Football: Another setback for Vialli

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The Independent Online
By Mark Bradley

Chelsea 0 Aston Villa 1

ASTON VILLA put their Uefa Cup defeat by Atletico Madrid behind them and cashed in on Chelsea's typically poor form after European travels. Julian Joachim scored the only goal at Stamford Bridge yesterday to ease Villa's relegation worries.

Joachim's previous four goals this season had all come as a substitute but, starting in the absence of the injured Stan Collymore,slotted home his goal in the 51st minute after the young midfielder Lee Hendrie had weaved his way through a static Chelsea defence. When the ball rebounded back to him off Jody Morris, he found Joachim unmarked on the edge of the six-yard area.

The victory lifted Villa 11 points clear of the relegation zone with games to come in the next week against Barnsley and Crystal Palace at Villa Park. It also maintained the 100 per cent League record of their new manager, John Gregory. By contrast it was a third defeat in three Premiership games under Gianluca Vialli, despite his cup successes, and he was booked for showing his frustration and pulling Hendrie's hair in the second half.

Chelsea had lost both of their previous League games straight after away European Cup-Winners' Cup matches and again looked tired. Although Vialli restored himself to the side after sitting out the 2-1 victory over Real Betis in Seville on Thursday, Chelsea had a young look with Gianfranco Zola on the bench, Mark Hughes suspended and Dan Petrescu, Dennis Wise and Steve Clarke out.

After Vialli had missed when set up by Tore Andre Flo's backheel after nine minutes, it was not until the last 10 minutes when Zola had come on for Roberto Di Matteo and Laurent Charvet for Myers that Chelsea bucked up. Ugo Ehiogu did well to beat Charvet to a Michael Duberry cross, while Zola shot wide after Flo found him in space.

Goal: Joachim 51 (0-1).

Chelsea: De Goey; Leboeuf, Vialli, Duberry, Di Matteo (Zola, 61), Myers (Charvet, 68), Flo, Sinclair, Nicholls, Newton, Morris. Substitutes not used: Lambourde, P Hughes, Hitchcock (gk).

Aston Villa: Bosnich; Staunton, Southgate, Ehiogu, Taylor, Draper, Yorke, Joachim, Wright, Grayson, Hendrie. Substitutes not used: Charles, Nelson, Collins, Byfield, Oakes (gk).

Referee: S J Lodge (Barnsley).

Booked: Chelsea Vialli; Aston Villa Staunton.

Man of the match: Joachim.

Attendance: 33,018.