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Chelsea 1-1 Aston Villa: Anwar El Ghazi earns point for visitors

By Mantej MannBBC Sport
Anwar El Ghazi
Anwar El Ghazi rescued a point for Aston Villa with a neat side-foot finish at Stamford Bridge

Anwar El Ghazi scored his fifth goal in as many games as Aston Villa came from behind to earn a point against Chelsea in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge.

Villa were trailing to an Olivier Giroud header when El Ghazi scored a second-half equaliser that saw the in-form visitors stretch their unbeaten run to five games.

Dean Smith's side started brightly but found themselves behind when Giroud marked his return to the Chelsea starting line-up with a trademark finish from Ben Chilwell's cross.

Parity was restored five minutes after the interval, though, when the unmarked El Ghazi converted Matty Cash's inviting delivery at the back post.

Both sides had chances to steal victory, with Villa coming closest when John McGinn smashed a thunderous long-range effort off the crossbar.

The result sees Villa move up to fifth in the table, level on points with sixth-placed Chelsea - with both sides now a point outside the top four.

Villa have two games in hand on second-placed Leicester and are three points behind the Foxes.

Festive blip or something more damning?

Chelsea began the month with a 17-match unbeaten run in all competitions, but had lost three of their previous four games before facing Villa, and that meant the spotlight was on the west London club going into the match.

Boss Frank Lampard delivered on his promise to make changes from the side beaten at Arsenal and World Cup-winning France forward Giroud was one of six new faces in the starting line-up.

The Blues boss was looking for fresh impetus to kick-start his side's season and Giroud, as he has so often done against Villa, came up with an answer.

Chelsea 1-1 Aston Villa: Lampard says Chelsea 'deserved to win' after 'tough night'

The 34-year-old has now scored in three of his last four league starts for the club and he continued his fine form when he arched his back to guide Chilwell's square ball past Emiliano Martinez.

Giroud has scored in each of his last seven Premier League appearances against Villa, netting nine goals, but the Blues lacked cutting edge in attack after Villa's equaliser.

From nine second-half attempts, only three were on target, with Callum Hudson-Odoi producing the best effort with a low strike that was well saved by Martinez.

Chelsea spent about £200m this summer but Germany internationals Timo Werner and Kai Havertz were limited to just 18 minutes off the bench against Villa after taking time to settle since moving to the Premier League.

Lampard will be looking for more from Werner and the club's record signing Havertz if they are to establish themselves in this season's top four and push for silverware.

Grealish-inspired Villa on song

Having survived on the final day of last season, Villa have enjoyed an impressive upturn in fortune this season.

In contrast to Chelsea, Villa have won three of their last four games and they are playing with confidence, inspired by their talisman Jack Grealish and driven on by the tireless McGinn.

Chelsea 1-1 Aston Villa: Dean Smith pleased by side's character

Only Liverpool have won more points at home than Chelsea this season, but Villa started on the front foot, with the influential Grealish involved in three of their first five attempts within 25 minutes.

In El Ghazi, Villa also suddenly have an unlikely hero, with the 25-year-old discovering a welcome ability to pop up in the right place at the right time.

The Netherlands forward had only scored four goals in his first 37 appearances before this current purple patch.

Villa had not earned a point from a losing position this season before this game, so this draw is further proof Smith's side continue to make progress from the relegation-haunted team of the last campaign.

'The response was right' - what they said

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard, speaking to MOTD: "They're a tough opponent, but we had really good chances.

"I think there was a handball before the goal right next to the linesman. When you're having a tough moment like we are, sometimes that goes against you. That last bit wasn't quite there today because we haven't got the rub of the green at the minute.

"The response was exactly right other than the win. We had a couple of little chances. It felt like the pressure was coming from us. This is our tough period at the moment. We have to fight for it and we'll be stronger for it.

"You want to get results at this point of the year. I could feel the players' disappointment at the end because they want to win.

"A few weeks ago people were talking about us as title challengers, now it's a difficult period. The new players are going to get better as they come along."

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith, speaking to MOTD: "It's a battling point for us. They got beat in the last game so I certainly understand that. In my head, I was thinking whether to go with fresh legs or with momentum and confidence.

"I looked the players in the eye and they looked ready to start the game. You've got to find a balance between defending and attacking and I thought we did that really well.

"It's only our second season back in the Premier League. You have to build gradually. We had 13 new players last season but only five this year. They've settled in quickly.

"We've got some tough games coming up. Every game is tough, but momentum and confidence is a big thing."

On Anwar El Ghazi: "He had an up-and-down season last season. We started this season really well with Jack on one side and Trezeguet on the other. Him and Bertrand (Traore) have seized their chance. Anwar's come in and scored five goals in five games, you can't argue with that."

Stamford Bridge the fortress - the stats

  • Chelsea have lost just one of their last 14 Premier League home games (W10 D3), with that lone defeat coming against Liverpool earlier this season.
  • Since losing at Liverpool in July, Aston Villa have only suffered one defeat in their last nine away games in the Premier League (W5 D3).
  • Aston Villa have conceded 51 Premier League goals away at Chelsea - only against Man City and Man Utd (both 53) have they conceded more on the road in the competition.
  • Aston Villa haven't kept a clean sheet in any of their last 20 Premier League away games against Chelsea since a 1-0 win in March 1998.
  • Since his Premier League debut in August 2012, Giroud has scored more headed goals than any other player in the competition (32).
  • El Ghazi is the first Aston Villa player to score in three successive Premier League appearances since Tom Cleverley in May 2015.
  • Chilwell equalled his Premier League season-best tally of four assists, with the Chelsea left-back having as many goal involvements in this campaign as 2019/20 (six - two goals, four assists).

What's next?

Chelsea host Manchester City on Sunday, 3 January (16:30 GMT), while Aston Villa travel to Manchester United on New Year's Day (20:00).

Player of the match

McGinnJohn McGinn

with an average of 8.16

Chelsea

  1. Squad number18Player nameGiroud
    Average rating

    6.10

  2. Squad number21Player nameChilwell
    Average rating

    5.73

  3. Squad number10Player namePulisic
    Average rating

    5.40

  4. Squad number7Player nameKanté
    Average rating

    5.31

  5. Squad number20Player nameHudson-Odoi
    Average rating

    5.13

  6. Squad number19Player nameMount
    Average rating

    4.83

  7. Squad number28Player nameAzpilicueta
    Average rating

    4.79

  8. Squad number16Player nameMendy
    Average rating

    4.73

  9. Squad number2Player nameRüdiger
    Average rating

    4.48

  10. Squad number29Player nameHavertz
    Average rating

    4.23

  11. Squad number4Player nameChristensen
    Average rating

    4.14

  12. Squad number11Player nameWerner
    Average rating

    3.99

  13. Squad number5Player nameJorginho
    Average rating

    3.92

Aston Villa

  1. Squad number7Player nameMcGinn
    Average rating

    8.16

  2. Squad number10Player nameGrealish
    Average rating

    7.61

  3. Squad number21Player nameEl Ghazi
    Average rating

    7.52

  4. Squad number26Player nameMartínez
    Average rating

    7.52

  5. Squad number2Player nameCash
    Average rating

    7.27

  6. Squad number6Player nameDouglas Luiz
    Average rating

    7.26

  7. Squad number11Player nameWatkins
    Average rating

    7.20

  8. Squad number4Player nameKonsa
    Average rating

    7.20

  9. Squad number30Player nameHause
    Average rating

    7.10

  10. Squad number18Player nameTargett
    Average rating

    6.96

  11. Squad number41Player nameRamsey
    Average rating

    6.78

  12. Squad number15Player nameTraoré
    Average rating

    6.68

  13. Squad number39Player nameDavis
    Average rating

    6.39

Line-ups

Chelsea

Formation 4-3-3

  • 16Mendy
  • 28AzpilicuetaBooked at 45mins
  • 4Christensen
  • 2Rüdiger
  • 21Chilwell
  • 7KantéBooked at 74mins
  • 5JorginhoSubstituted forHavertzat 72'minutes
  • 19Mount
  • 20Hudson-Odoi
  • 18GiroudBooked at 71minsSubstituted forWernerat 72'minutes
  • 10Pulisic

Substitutes

  • 1Arrizabalaga
  • 6Thiago Silva
  • 9Abraham
  • 11Werner
  • 14Tomori
  • 17Kovacic
  • 23Gilmour
  • 29Havertz
  • 33Emerson

Aston Villa

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 26Martínez
  • 2Cash
  • 4Konsa
  • 30Hause
  • 18Targett
  • 6Douglas Luiz
  • 7McGinn
  • 15TraoréSubstituted forDavisat 87'minutes
  • 10Grealish
  • 21El GhaziBooked at 71minsSubstituted forRamseyat 81'minutes
  • 11Watkins

Substitutes

  • 1Heaton
  • 3Taylor
  • 14Hourihane
  • 19Nakamba
  • 22Engels
  • 24Guilbert
  • 27El Mohamady
  • 39Davis
  • 41Ramsey
Referee:
Stuart Attwell

Match Stats

Home TeamChelseaAway TeamAston Villa
Possession
Home63%
Away37%
Shots
Home16
Away10
Shots on Target
Home5
Away2
Corners
Home11
Away4
Fouls
Home16
Away3

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Chelsea 1, Aston Villa 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Chelsea 1, Aston Villa 1.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Mason Mount.

  4. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Jacob Ramsey (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ollie Watkins.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Kai Havertz (Chelsea).

  6. Post update

    John McGinn (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  7. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ben Chilwell (Chelsea) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Callum Hudson-Odoi.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Mason Mount (Chelsea).

  9. Post update

    Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Antonio Rüdiger (Chelsea) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Mason Mount with a cross following a corner.

  11. Post update

    Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Ezri Konsa Ngoyo.

  12. Post update

    Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Ezri Konsa Ngoyo.

  13. Post update

    César Azpilicueta (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Jack Grealish (Aston Villa).

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Aston Villa. Keinan Davis replaces Bertrand Traoré.

  16. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Mason Mount (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by N'Golo Kanté.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Timo Werner (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

  18. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jacob Ramsey (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Ollie Watkins with a headed pass.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Aston Villa. Jacob Ramsey replaces Anwar El Ghazi.

  20. Post update

    Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Ezri Konsa Ngoyo.

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