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Chelsea shocked at home by Villa

Chelsea shocked at home by Villa
By Eurosport

01/01/2012 at 00:52Updated 02/01/2012 at 08:44

Chelsea were subjected to a humiliating 3-1 Premier League defeat at home to Aston Villa thanks to some shocking defending.

The Blues took the lead in the first half through a Didier Drogba penalty but Stephen Ireland soon equalised for the away side.

And Villa executed a smash-and-grab raid with two goals in the last 10 minutes as the David Luiz-John Terry central defensive partnership again comes under the spotlight. First captain Stiliyan Petrov finished into the far corner then substitute Darren Bent scored simply from inside the box to seal the win.

The result sees Chelsea sink to fifth below London rivals Arsenal, 1-0 winners against QPR, but on a more positive note for them third-placed Spurs dropped two points at Swansea despite taking the lead.

Andre Villas-Boas's men were booed off after the full-time whistle at an emptying Stamford Bridge.

Villa looked dangerous on the counter-attack in the first half while Chelsea, whose under-pressure boss Villas-Boas opted to leave out Fernando Torres and Frank Lampard, sent a few shots wide of the target.

It was the home side who took the lead on 23 minutes, Drogba earning the chance to score his 150th goal for the club when Richard Dunne tackled with his 'wrong' leg inside the box and felled the Ivorian. He got up to dispatch the penalty, but it was low and underneath Brad Guzan, and therefore somewhat fortunate.

The strike puts him level with Peter Osgood and Roy Bentley in terms of the club's top scorers of all time. Only Frank Lampard (178), Kerry Dixon (193) and Bobby Tambling (202) have scored more for the West Londoners.

The lead lasted just five minutes as Villa deservedly scored through Ireland - but Terry was lucky to stay on the pitch after saving the first shot with his arm.

Dunne sent a long ball towards Ireland and the playmaker brought it down and cut inside before releasing Charles N'Zogbia inside the box. The ball was returned to him and his first strike to the near post was blocked by the home captain, whose arm was down but moving away from his body.

Nothing was given but Ireland was on hand to finish the rebound for 1-1.

There were other less concrete shouts for spot-kicks from both teams on either side of the break, with referee Mark Halsey correct to resist the temptation of awarding a second penalty.

The first of them, on 34 minutes, saw Drogba volley a cross following a Raul Meireles chipped pass. Guzan tipped the ball away as far as Mata, whose strike was blocked by the arm of Stephen Warnock - but it was held in front of his body.

Drogba struck one free-kick well over and another from closer in into the wall as Chelsea finished the half on top but lacking a cutting edge.

Meireles and Daniel Sturridge combined to almost set up Mata from 12 yards soon into the second period but it was a false dawn as Villa looked the more likely team to create something.

A Charles N'Zogbia free-kick from the left touched the top of Luiz's head to surprise James Collins, who saw the ball bounce off his chest and just wide of the Chelsea goal, before Gabriel Agbonlahor wasted a one-on-one with a weak shot at Cech when N'Zogbia and Marc Albrighton combined with him in a three-on-two situation.

Lampard appeared on 57 minutes and added some enterprise to start with, while Torres followed five minutes later and began by unleashing a tremendous strike from 35 yards out that shook the crossbar.

The Spain star - who was on Saturday warned by national team boss Vicente del Bosque that he may be left out of the Euro 2012 squad - also showed some decent touches but later missed the target with a free header from six yards with the score still 1-1.

Dunne survived one of the more credible penalty appeals when Ashley Cole poked an aerial ball against his arm and eight minutes later the England left-back was again denied when he felt Albrighton had caught him as he crossed.

Jose Bosingwa appeared for Paulo Ferreira and following his first touch forced Guzan to tip over a thunderous long-distance strike.

With seven minutes of normal time remaining, Villa took the lead for the first time in the match. Luiz, who had spent a fair amount of time looking to instigate at the attacking end - not without success - was caught out of position as Ciaran Clark split the home defence to find Petrov, and his captain scored past Cech from 12 yards out on the left.

In the 86th minute Lampard was culpable for the third Villa goal. A lazy pass with the outside of his foot was read by Ireland, who ran through on goal after intercepting on halfway. He squared to Bent, who had appeared for N'Zogbia on 78 minutes after three matches out injured, and the England striker found the back of the net.

Chelsea's afternoon was summed up when Mata became annoyed with Luiz in the dying embers of the encounter, the playmaker seeming to think the Brazilian had put him off with a run-up as he swept a free-kick over the bar.

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