Aston Villa 1 Chelsea 0 match report: Late Fabian Delph goal grabs all three points for Villa

 

villa park

An evening when Chelsea blew up and potentially blew their lead. Jose Mourinho still has not won at Villa Park in his entire career and, for the first time, you understand what he is saying about this entire campaign.

Chelsea have not yet lost top spot in the Premier League but this surprising defeat to Aston Villa – which saw Willian, Ramires and Mourinho himself all sent off – has now properly handed the initiative back to Manchester City. Should Manuel Pellegrini’s side win their games in hand, they will be fully clear, not just on goal difference.

That is the grace this game allowed. That is also the wider implication of this result, but not really the story of the match itself. As a consequence, meanwhile, Mourinho was not so graceful about the referee, Chris Foy.

At least three borderline decisions went against Chelsea, which eventually resulted in Aston Villa edging the game through Fabian Delph’s 82nd-minute winner. That all culminated in Mourinho being dismissed for attempting to confront Foy on the pitch. The Chelsea manager could not complain about that too much but could dispute some of the earlier calls.

In the first half, Nemanja Matic was adjudged to have handled the ball before he sent it over the line, despite the absence of protest.

Shortly afterwards, Joe Bennett was booked for hauling down Ramires just in front of the 18-yard box, with Ron Vlaar sufficiently close by to prevent a red card. It certainly seemed a more obvious card than the second yellow Willian received for bringing down Delph.

Mourinho, surprisingly, refused to comment on any of those incidents. “I prefer not to speak. If I speak, I will be in trouble and I don’t want to be,” he said. “I don’t want to do something that we are not allowed to do. We are not allowed to speak about the referees. I don’t want to be charged with bringing the game into disrepute.”

He did, however, comment an awful lot on Foy. Just at the end of the game, as Chelsea realised the result was beyond them, that frustration led to Ramires stamping on Karim El Ahmadi. He was sent off and Mourinho followed him. Afterwards, the Portuguese was asked whether he expected punishment. “Me? Me, or the ref? No, I don’t expect, because I did nothing.”

He also attempted to deflect attention on to Gabriel Agbonlahor, who got up off the bench to confront Ramires. “It’s a big occasion for me to know about the character of Mr Foy because I want to know what he’s going to write about my sending-off,” added Mourinho.

“If my sending-off was because I was on the pitch, two to three metres, I think we should be like [that for] 10 persons from the dugout: me, my two assistants. Paul [Lambert], Paul’s assistant, Agbonlahor, who came in and made an aggression on Ramires from behind.

“I think almost all of us just [wanted] to calm down and try to stop. So, if I was sent off because I was on the pitch, I ask why not the others, especially one player that made an aggression on another one, Agbonlahor on Ramires?”

Mourinho also revealed that he attempted to talk to Foy after the game. “I tried, but he refused to speak to me,” he said. “I tried to speak to Mr Foy twice. I tried to speak on the pitch and I tried in the dressing rooms. In the dressing rooms, I tried to ask politely, ‘can you give me five seconds’ and he refused.”

It is, however, difficult to refute the idea that Mourinho got it wrong. In the past few weeks, Chelsea have made a habit of starting slowly and finishing strongly enough to win.

Their last three games had been 0-0 at half-time and this was the same. On this occasion, though, they allowed the margins to get too small. With Chelsea finally trying to push in the second half and Villa always breaking dangerously, it forced the visitors into the kind of errors they could not recover from.

It remains to be seen how they will recover from this. “We are not in the title race,” said Mourinho. “We are in a match race. We play every match, we try to win, we think we can win, we give everything to win, sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t, but that’s our race.”

Villa certainly did that. When Lambert was asked about all the controversy involving his counterpart, he mischievously echoed a line that Mourinho had said about the Villa manager in August. “He reminds me of myself.”

Above all else, Chelsea were reminded of their flaws.td it, and Ireland went almost the length of the field with Trimble piercing the cover and O’Driscoll sidestepping Dulin – “I knew I didn’t have the gas to get him on the outside,” the great man smiled – before Sexton took a simple scoring line off a ruck and added the conversion. With a penalty by Sexton in the 53rd minute Ireland had a two-score lead.

That soon became one, via what looked a lucky escape for Cian Healy making a dangerous clear-out on Picamoles, when Dimitri Szarzewski finished a punishing series of rucks at the base of a post and Machenaud converted before giving way to Jean-Marc Doussain. The next thing to give way, after Sexton’s injury, was Ireland’s scrum, but Doussain missed the 30-metre penalty. Doussain was whistled up for holding on, then something similar befell Ireland.

A safe pass by Pascal Papé to Damien Chouly would have broken the Irish but Rob Kearney harried the France captain into fluffing it. Then came Vahaamahina’s rumble when it seemed the entire Emerald Isle were on the Frenchman’s back.

The Ireland and former Leinster head coach

Aston Villa (4-3-3): Guzan; Lacuna, Vlaar, Baker, Bennett (Clark, 78); El Ahmadi, Westwood, Delph; Weimann, Benteke, Agbonlahor (Albrighton, 75).

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Ramires, Matic; Willian, Oscar (Schürrle, 67), Hazard; Torres (Ba, 67).

Referee: Chris Foy.

Man of the match: Delph (Villa)

Match rating: 7/10

News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower