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Aston Villa are in the top half of the Premier League for just the second time this season as they overtake Chelsea following a victory against the London side at Stamford Bridge. Ollie Watkins and John McGinn both netted without response as Villa gained a huge three points to put them within touching distance of the European spots.

Chelsea set up in a 3-4-3 system as Kepa Arrizabalaga started in goal behind a back three of Reece James, Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella. Ruben Loftus Cheek and Ben Chilwell played as wingbacks either side of Enzo Fernandez and Mateo Kovacic, and a front three of Mykhailo Mudryk, Kai Havertz and Joao Felix led the line for the Blues.

Villa set up with their trademark 4-4-2 system as World Cup winner Emi Martinez started in between the sticks behind a back four of Alex Moreno on the left, Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa in the middle, and Ashley Young on the right who made way for the injured Matty Cash. Boubacar Kamara came back into the side following the injury he picked up at home to Crystal Palace and started in a double pivot alongside Douglas Luiz, Jacob Ramsey and skipper John McGinn started on the flanks, and Emi Buendia started as a second striker behind Ollie Watkins who looked to make history as this was his opportunity to become the first Aston Villa player to net in five consecutive Premier League away games.

Story Of The Game

Emi Buendia kicked off for Villa and the game was underway. The first major chance went Chelsea’s way as a mix up between Martinez and Kamara whilst playing out from the back resulted in Mudryk having a golden chance saved by the World Cup winner. Six minutes in, a chance went Villa’s way - a long ball from Martinez met the head of McGinn before a nice exchange of passes between the captain and Buendia resulted in a through ball from McGinn being put through to Watkins who dragged a shot wide. Around ten minutes later, a beautiful passage of play from Aston Villa ended with a lovely carry down the line from Jacob Ramsey before finding Buendia who squared it to John McGinn. McGinn placed a lovely shot goalwards, however it crashed against the crossbar. Villa continued to pile on pressure, and just under twenty minutes had gone before they took the lead. A lovely ball over the top from Douglas Luiz and a mix up between Koulibaly and Cucurella at the back ended with Watkins being clean through on goal who cooly lobbed it over Kepa Arrizabalaga’s head and made it 1-0 to Villa.

Five goals in five consecutive away games for Watkins who has really shun since the arrival of the new manager.

Chelsea hit the woodwork just under thirty five minutes in as Kovacic put a lovely ball over the top to find Chilwell, however he fired a difficult finish against the post. Chelsea definitely responded well to going a goal down, but Villa were solid defensively and were keeping them out. Just shy of the break, Chelsea had the ball in the net. A beautiful ball from Enzo Fernandez landed on the head of Ben Chilwell who directed it goalwards and past Emi Martinez, however the goal was chalked off because of a push on Ashley Young in the build up to the goal. At half time, Chelsea would have been wondering what more they needed to do to score, and Villa were in front.

The first change of the game happened at half time as Calum Chambers replaced Boubacar Kamara. Chambers looked to go on the right side of a back four with Ashley Young a bit further forward, however it fluidly changed to a back five whenever Chelsea applied pressure. Ten minutes into the second half, Villa extended their lead through skipper John McGinn.

A well worked corer routine ended up at the feet of Jacob Ramsey before playing it back to John McGinn who placed it from around twenty five yards out and stunned Stamford Bridge as the net bustled and sent the Villa away fans into raptures. A lot of work for Chelsea to do and it began with Madueke and Kante replacing Mudryk and Loftus Cheek, however they really struggled to react to going two goals down. They lacked urgency and the game was all but finished. With around fifteen minutes to go, Leon Bailey replaced Emi Buendia for Villa, and Kovacic and Cucurella made way for Gallagher and Pulisic for Chelsea. With five to go, Dendoncker came on for Luiz as Villa looked to see the game out. Another change was made as Alex Moreno made way for Lucas Digne whilst the game was pretty much done and dusted. Five minutes of stoppage time were added as Stamford Bridge began to empty everywhere apart from the away end which was rocking from start to finish. The full time whistle was sounded, and the Chelsea fans began to boo and jeer, but as for Villa, they climbed into the top half of the table and now currently sit just two points behind Brighton in 6th.

Man Of The Match - John McGinn

A very tough decision as every player in claret and blue performed excellent this evening, however the skipper was exceptional and scored a vital goal from long range to put the game to bed. One of the most improved players since Emery's arrival, and the best on the pitch tonight.

Biggest Underperformer - Mykhailo Mudryk

Another tricky decision as most Chelsea players were poor out there, however Mudryk squandered chance after chance in the first half which ultimately cost Chelsea from getting anything out of the game.

BY HARRY BATTERS - @HarryBatters

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