Chelsea 0-2 Aston Villa: Blues slip into bottom half of table
Chelsea slipped into the bottom half of the Premier League table as John McGinn’s brilliant 30-yard strike helped Aston Villa to a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge — piling the pressure on Graham Potter.
The Villa captain struck 10 minutes after half-time to double his side’s lead in front of a frustrated home crowd.
After four games unbeaten in all competitions, expectations were high among the Blues faithful.
But they made their displeasure known after Ollie Watkins pounced on a mistake by Marc Cucurella in the first half to stun Potter’s side.
Chelsea’s struggles in front of goal reared their ugly head again and boos rang around the stadium at the final whistle, with some supporters calling for Potter to go.
Yet it could have been so different for the hosts had they tucked away an early gift.
Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez rolled the ball short to Boubacar Kamara, who dithered in possession and allowed Mykhailo Mudryk to nick it.
The home crowd sensed a first Chelsea goal for the Ukrainian but Martinez managed to divert his shot to safety.
After that chance went begging, the Blues were nearly made to pay instantly.
Potter’s defence, with Reece James in a central three in place of the injured Wesley Fofana, parted to allow McGinn to release Watkins.
But with only Kepa Arrizabalaga to beat, he pulled his shot wide.
McGinn went closer on 15 minutes when his curling effort smacked the crossbar.
Chelsea, suddenly on the back foot, had received two early warnings. Neither would be heeded.
The opening goal was a calamity for Cucurella.
Douglas Luiz’s ball forward looked an easy mop-up job for Kalidou Koulibaly but his back-peddling team-mate nodded it into the path of Watkins.
This time, the in-form Villa striker made the most of his opportunity and lifted the ball over Arrizabalaga to make it 1-0.
Joao Felix showed quick, delicate feet inside the box to make space for a shot that Martinez did well to beat behind at his near post as the hosts rallied.
Mudryk’s moment finally appeared to have arrived soon after when he found space.
But he shot too early and the weak effort was easily gathered by Martinez.
Soon Chelsea’s pressure was relentless.
Ben Chilwell came close when he pulled away from McGinn down the left and struck a post, before Felix shot wide following a goalmouth scramble.
Martinez was required again, this time diving low to his left to keep out Kai Havertz’s clipped effort towards the bottom corner.
Potter’s team were on top but plenty of chances resulted in nothing more than frustration come the break.
McGinn’s goal after 55 minutes deepened their woes.
His whipped effort was hit crisply as Chelsea failed to clear a corner.
The blue shirts that flung themselves in front to try and block the shot did so in vain and the ball dropped beyond Arrizabalaga’s dive.
From there, Chelsea kept toiling, applying busy, urgent pressure, without any real penetration.
N’Golo Kante emerged from the bench to play his first minutes under Potter but there was to be no denying Unai Emery’s men.
To make matters worse for Potter, the result saw the Villans leapfrog his side as Chelsea slipped to 11th, a point behind Fulham following their defeat at Bournemouth.