Aston Villa stun Chelsea with 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge, heaping pressure on Graham Potter
Aston Villa heaped even more pressure on under-fire Chelsea boss Graham Potter as they secured just their second win from their last 18 Premier League (PL) visits to Stamford Bridge with a 2-0 victory.
If Chelsea needed any early reminder that Aston Villa weren’t going to come to Stamford Bridge and roll over, then John McGinn’s effort crashing off the bar offered just that. The Blues failed to heed that warning though, and a matter of moments later, they were behind. A defensive mix-up between Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella allowed Ollie Watkins to ghost in behind and loft the ball over a stranded Kepa Arrizabalaga, extending his remarkable away PL goalscoring run to five matches – a new club record.
Villa weren’t keen to just sit on a one-goal lead, but in coming forward to increase their cushion they almost got caught on the break when Mykhailo Mudryk was sent clear on goal, but his incredibly tame effort was easily gathered by Emiliano Martínez to the relief of the travelling faithful. Ben Chilwell was next to try his luck, but whilst he had Martínez beaten all ends up, he was adjudged to have fouled Ashley Young as he rose highest to head home what he thought was an equaliser on the stroke of HT.
Villa took full advantage of that reprieve after the break too, doubling their advantage a little over 10 minutes into the second half. Not deterred by his earlier effort that cannoned back off the bar, McGinn kept a level head to slam home from 25 yards out, netting his first Aston Villa goal since November 2021. Potter reacted instantly to his side falling two goals behind, introducing Noni Madueke and N’Golo Kanté to the fray, with the latter of the duo making his first appearance since August.
Neither substitute really had the desired impact and it was in fact Villa who came closer to finding a third goal, but some desperate Koulibaly defending prevented Jacob Ramsey from further embarrassing Chelsea. It wasn’t for the want of trying that Chelsea fell to defeat, but effort alone won’t save Potter, whose future will undoubtedly come under even more scrutiny. The night belonged to Aston Villa though, who now sit above Chelsea as they seek to end a PL season above them for the first time since 1995/96.