Chelsea stunned by Villa

Jose Mourinho must be developing an intense hatred for visits to Villa Park after Martin O’Neill condemned Chelsea to yet another dose of Midlands misery.

Debutant Zat Knight and Gabriel Agbonlahor both scored in the second half to leave Mourinho still waiting for his first Premier League victory at this particular corner of the West Midlands.

It was Chelsea’s first defeat of the season but it was a performance that will do little to suggest that Mourinho can deliver his third title.

Villa fully deserved their victory with an effervescent performance and are surely certain to make a marked improvement on their first season under Martin O’Neill.

Knight, who was brought up a stone’s throw away from Villa Park, secured the first goal with a towering header, helping the giant defender to erase the memory of his performance only last week at Villa, for his former club Fulham, that culminated in him scoring in his own net.

And Agbonlahor pounced a minute from time to leave Chelsea frustrated for another year after another fruitless visit.

Chelsea have experienced acute frustration on all of their visits to Villa Park under Mourinho.

O’Neill is convinced that Villa’s inability to claw their way higher up the table has been a result of their failure to beat the more established sides.

Liverpool have already accounted for O’Neill’s side this season but their hoodoo over Chelsea showed no sign of abating at an exuberant Villa Park.

Agbonlahor, the England under-21 international, nearly stunned the visitors in the eighth minute with a clever turn and shot but Petr Cech produced an excellent save.

Chelsea responded strongly with Scott Carson, the England international goalkeeper, frustrating long-range efforts from Michael Essien and Shaun Wright-Phillips.

Cech had insisted before the match that Carson deserves more of a chance in Steve McClaren’s set-up and the Liverpool keeper is certainly doing his case no harm since arriving at Villa.

Chelsea, however, were short of ideas with Didier Drogba isolated up front and if Mourinho is to deliver another title it will not be by winning any entertainment awards. Compare their brand of football to the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and now Liverpool, they fall well behind from an aesthetic perspective.

Villa’s start to the second half was equally impressive and Ashley Young forced more heroics from Cech with a fine 20-yard effort.

From the resultant corner, Villa took the lead through one of their own. Gareth Barry’s corner was powerfully met by Knight and Ashley Cole on the goal line could not prevent it from finding the net.

Chelsea attempted to mount late pressure but never looked like troubling Carson, with a tame effort from substitute Soloman Kalou their only snarl of defiance.

And their misery was complete when Agbonlahor diverted Ashley Young’s fierce cross-cum-shot past Cech a minute from time.

It may have been Chelsea’s first defeat for quite some time, but even at this stage of the season it could be a decisive blow to their Premier League title hopes. — Sapa-AFP

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