AVFCOfficial: VILLA: Given, Lichaj, Collins, Baker, Warnock, Bannan, Herd, Ireland, Gardner, Weimann, Agbonlahor.
TomMoore_Lon24: Chelsea players run out with shirts saying ‘Our thoughts are with you’ on the front and ‘Petrov’ on the back.
ChelseaAnalysis: Chelsea line-up vs. Aston Villa: Cech – Ivanovic, David Luiz, Terry, Cole – Lampard, Mikel – Sturridge, Mata, Kalou – Torres.
ChelseaAnalysis: Chelsea subs vs. Aston Villa: Turnbull, Cahill, Bertrand, Bosingwa, Essien, Ramires, Malouda.
BluesChronicle: Lots of people asking about the whereabouts of Didier Drogba, who is not named in Chelsea’s 18. I’m told he picked up an injury in training.
BluesChronicle: Chelsea & Villa teams march out onto pitch. Alex McLeish and Roberto Di Matteo share a bear hug in the tunnel. 3mins to KO at Villa Park.
The first half
BluesChronicle: Kick off at Villa Park: Aston Villa 0-0 Chelsea. COME ON YOU BLUES!
chelseafc: Drogba is absent with a knock in his toe, will be assessed before Benfica match, by the way.
BluesChronicle: Luiz threads a ball through the centre of the park, for Torres to pick up on goal. But the striker shoots right at the keeper.
BluesChronicle: GOOOOAAAALLLL! ASTON VILLA 0-1 CHELSEA. STURRIDGE!
BluesChronicle: Villa 0-1 Chelsea. Kalou with ball into box; back to Mata at side, who crosses along goal line. Torres can’t find net but Sturridge does.
chelseafc: Torres’s close-range shot is blocked by Warnock, but Sturridge is able to drive into an empty net. His first touch. Great start.
OptaJoe: 10 – Daniel Sturridge has reached double figures for goals in a single Premier League season for the first time. Maturing.
BluesChronicle: Villa find the net, but the assistant referee has a flag up for offside.
ChelseaAnalysis: Torres did well to bring the cross down and nearly scored but was denied by a great block. By no means deserves criticism for the miss.
ChelseaStats: Opta have not awarded the assist to Torres yet, but he already has 11 this season and has been involved in a lot more.
BluesChronicle: Mikel boots a loose ball off-target but it deflects off Villa’s Collins on the penalty spot to force a save from Given.
BluesChronicle: The crowd, both home and away fans, just held a 19th minute applause for Villa number 19 Petrov. The Villa captain again showing his thanks.
BluesChronicle: Mata hits the woodwork. AGAIN!
bridgeviews: Mata hits the post AGAIN. Very unlucky, but a brilliant move.
chelseafc: Spirited response from Villa, though they are finding it hard to get at Chelsea’s rearguard. Still 1-0 Chelsea.
ChelseaAnalysis: Decency in the final third. Creativity. RT @ChelseaStats: Kalou Torres and Mata all forming a decent partnership here. Chemistry at last.
BluesChronicle: Has any Chelsea player hit the woodwork as often in such a short space of time as Juan Mata? Great move – should have scored.
chelseafc: Villa’s Baker guides a corner over the bar – Chelsea need to be more alert at these set-plays.
BluesChronicle: Sturridge goes on a long run with the ball, cuts inside on the edge of the box, and delivers a shot – but it is a tame one, easily saved.
BluesChronicle: Atmosphere among home fans fallen flat after a bubbling early start. Lots of gaps in Villa areas of ground. Chelsea, however, in good voice.
BluesChronicle: Agbonlahor shoots from a yard beyond the penalty spot and Cech deflects it onto the bar with his foot. Vital, vital save.
BluesChronicle: Chelsea sub: Cahill on for Luiz.
BluesChronicle: Luiz takes a very slow walk off – looked to be hobbling a bit before. 1min added time.
BluesChronicle: HT: Aston Villa 0-1 Chelsea. Sturridge goal the difference. Mata hit the post at one end; Cech deflected Agbonlahor shot onto bar at other.
The second half
BluesChronicle: Second half under-way at Villa Park: Aston Villa 0-1 Chelsea. COME ON CHELSEA!
chelseafc: Confirmation that Luiz suffered an ankle knock. He’s sitting watching from the bench now.
BluesChronicle: GOOOAAAALLLL! ASTONVILLA 0-2 CHELSEA. IVANOVIC!
BluesChronicle: Villa 0-2 Chelsea: Mata corner drops into a goalmouth melee, where Ivanovic just manages to stab it in.
chelseafc: Chelsea fans sing ‘There’s only one Di Matteo’ and ‘Eddie Eddie’. Thumbs up from the boss on the touch line.
BluesChronicle: Chelsea sub: Ramires on for Kalou.
chelseafc: Free kick from Mata sails over the bar. It remains 2-0 to the Blues.
BluesChronicle: JT gets a lot of flack: but note that he just appealed to the ref NOT to book Warnock for a challenge on him. Ref Mason booked him anyway.
BluesChronicle: Villa offering very little here to challenge Chelsea’s superiority. Incredible we’ve found this such a tough ground in recent years.
ChelseaAnalysis: Cahill putting his boot back on. Referee stops the play. Home fans furious.
chelseafc: Cross from Ivanovic met with a glance off the head by Torres which is just over the bar.
ChelseaAnalysis: Under 20 minutes left to go. A goal or two more would be nice in terms of confidence for the mid-week Benfica game.
BluesChronicle: Chelsea sub: Malouda on for Mata.
ChelseaAnalysis: Malouda, a LM, is brought into the centre with Torres, and Sturridge stays on the left wing. Don’t think Studge will be too happy with that.
BluesChronicle: GOAL: ASTON VILLA 1-2 CHELSEA.
BluesChronicle: Aston Villa 1-2 Chelsea: right out of the Stoke play-book, this. Long throw, as good as a corner, nodded past Cech by Collins. Careful now.
BluesChronicle: GOAL: ASTON VILLA 2-2 CHELSEA.
3adool94: What the hell just happened? Defense went to sleep and concede two goals in three minutes. Terrible.
BluesChronicle: Villa 2-2 Chelsea: fast-paced move down the Villa left cxossed for Lichaj to evade Cole and knock in. And bang goes that easy afternoon.
bridgeviews: Seriously? Utter rubbish. Cruise control fine, complacency unacceptable. There’s no way we deserve 4th.
BluesChronicle: GOOOOAAAALLLL! ASTON VILLA 2-3 CHELEA. IVANOVIC!
ChelseaAnalysis: I remember that game where it was raining goals in the last few minutes, 3-2 to us and then it’s 3-3. Aston Villa, wasn’t it?
BluesChronicle: Villa 2-3 Chelsea: Blues corner sees Ivanovic steam in, evade Villa defence & head past Given like a bullet. Two-goal Branislav Ivanovic!
ChelseaAnalysis: We seemed to have lost balance when Mata came off for Malouda. Thought the job was done and stopped the movement upfront.
BluesChronicle: 4mins added time.
BluesChronicle: GOOOOAAAALLLL! ASTON VILLA 2-4 CHELSEA. FERNANDO TORRES!
OptaJoe: 1035 – Fernando Torres has scored his first Premier League goal in 1035 minutes. Refreshed.
BluesChronicle: FT: Villa 2-4 Chelsea. Blues rush to 0-2 lead, only to be pegged back to 2-2. Late goals from Ivanovic & Torres seal character-filled win.
sidcelery: Torres premonition came off. Never said that before. Are people still putting money on him? I’m neither that brave nor rich…
chelseayouth: Three points and an Arsenal defeat. Good stuff, reels an extra team a bit closer for a CL spot, and one we can still play/beat to boot.
The match reports
The Observer, Russell Kempson: “On a chilly and sombre day in the midlands, Chelsea crept closer to Champions League qualification next season – that is, if they don’t win the competition this time around – with a nerve-jangling victory over a young and eager yet brittle Aston Villa side. They threw away a 2-0 lead, allowing Villa to draw level, but two late goals crowned an entertaining encounter that was perhaps needed after the desperate news emanating from Villa Park the previous day, when it was announced that Stilian Petrov, the Villa captain, had been diagnosed with acute leukaemia.”
The Sunday Telegraph, Graham Chase: “Chelsea did their bit but looked ready to depart with an easy win thanks to goals from Daniel Sturridge and Branislav Ivanovic. But James Collins and Eric Lichaj pulled Villa level with 10 minutes left to set up what looked likely to be a remarkable comeback. Yet it was not to be as Ivanovic scored his second before Fernando Torres broke away to score his first Premier League goal in more than five months.”
The Independent on Sunday, David Instone: “It’s onwards and upwards for a manager who has now overseen six victories and a draw from his eight matches in charge. For Villa, the landscape is different. But at least we were all talking about football at the end; just as Stiliyan Petrov would want it.”
Official Chelsea FC Website: “Another impressive win for the Blues under the stewardship of Roberto Di Matteo which keeps our hopes of a top-four finish alive. After taking a 2-0 lead courtesy of goals from Daniel Sturridge and Branislav Ivanovic, Aston Villa looked to have stolen a point when James Collins and Eric Lichaj scored in quick succession midway through the second half. We weren’t to be denied, however, and soon after Branislav Ivanovic restored our lead with his second of the game, before a wonderful Fernando Torres goal in stoppage time capped an impressive victory and our first away win in the league since the 2-1 success at Wolves in January.”