Chelsea slip to 11th as Aston Villa win at Stamford Bridge
John McGinn scored a second-half screamer as Aston Villa beat Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge to move to the top half of the Premier League while their host slipped into the second half in the 11th.
The win by Unai Emery’s men heaps more pressure on Graham Potter who has the backing of the new chairman, Todd Boehly.
Ollie Watkins put Villa ahead in the first half after Chelsea defender Marc Cucurella steered his header towards the striker who lifted the ball past Kepa Arrizabalaga who was stranded in goal.
Chelsea, who enjoyed some 69% possession and more than two dozen shots but as so often this season proved toothless in front of goal, came out guns blazing in the second half only to concede a corner from a Villa break.
The ball came out to McGinn and he sent a searing shot from 20 metres past the diving Kepa and into the bottom corner in the 56th minute.
“Everyone was flinging their bodies on the line,” McGinn told Sky sports. “This league’s difficult so to go on a run like we’ve done, and to stay so humble, to a man we were first class today.”
Villa’s World Cup winning goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez made flying saves from Mykhailo Mudryk and Joao Felix, but otherwise Chelsea produced tame efforts, dragged the ball wide or ran into well organised Villa defensive traffic.
Villa, tight at the back and sparkling on the break, were solid, composed and inventive.
Boos and jeers echoed round Stamford Bridge as the home team and a dejected looking Graham Potter left the field, the pressure well and truly back on his shoulders.
His side host Liverpool on Tuesday and play Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League later this month.
“We have to accept it (the result) and do better,” he told Sky. “We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We have a fantastic game on Tuesday to put it right,” Potter said.
“There were a lot of good things in the game, a lot of attacking entries and shots. If you look at the stats of the game it was a positive performance, but in terms of the scoreline it’s not. We’re all really disappointed.”
By contrast Villa, who have earned 29 points from 15 games since Unai Emery took over as coach last October, are two points adrift of the European places.