Aston Villa 1 Chelsea 0 – Mourinho blues, Delph magic and more
This is how it should be all the time at Villa Park. Any team turning up should expect a stern test. Villa now have beaten Chelsea and Manchester City at Villa Park, so they have the ability; more consistency, focus and effort against the lesser teams next season and it could transform Villa’s league position. Today, Mourinho was once again powerless against his Villa Park kryptonite, which was powered-up by an excellent team performance by Villa. There were plenty of reasons for Villa fans to be cheerful about…
1. Jose Mourinho STILL hasn’t won at Villa Park. It remains the only Premier League ground the Chelsea boss hasn’t won on (he’s had five attempts). It’s a record that does bring some pride to Villa supporters, since in recent seasons we’ve had to endure much home embarrassment. In fact, this was the first time Villa have won successive homes games in the Premier League since August 2010 (ouch!). It’s no surprise that casual visitors to Villa Park may not have even witnessed a victory in years. Maybe they should build a statue of Mourinho outside Villa Park, so there’s always something to smile about on match days? A brass statue recreating the moment Mourinho got sent off?
2. Captain Ron Vlaar’s performance typified the effort of all the team in undoubtedly Villa’s team performance of the season. Finally, a full 90 minute performance from the players. Notable shout out to Joe Bennett who gave one of his best performances in a Villa shirt.
3. It was a pleasure to watch Fabian Delph during the second-half. The player was buzzing with confidence, as he drove the team on through midfield. Such a surge led to Chelsea’s first red card, and then instead of settling for a respectable point, Delph took the fight to Chelsea in search of the full three points. For the winner, his interplay with Albrighton was top-notch, the finish, pure class. Unlucky not to get another minutes later, when he hit the bar.
Villa have long been in need of a midfielder who can take a game by the scruff of the neck and be a match-winner. An addition of a more formidable midfield presence in the team in the summer, would allow Delph to probe forward more often. An addition of an attacking midfielder would provide Delph with some one to conjure up variations in Villa’s play. Fabian could potentially could be the heartbeat to the Villa team for the next few seasons. The reincarnation of Mr Delph continues.
4. Ashley Westwood did his quiet man role to perfection and made some killer balls. He was written off in some quarters after a slow start to the season, which even saw him dropped by Lambert from Villa’s first XI. He’s that Kevin Richardson-type of player, that is always useful in a team. He certainly showed he can mix it up against the best of midfields against Chelsea.
5. I’m hoping this signals phase one of a transition in Villa’s fortunes. I said in this column after the Norwich game, that Villa could go on an unbeaten home run to the end of the season, if they could navigate the Chelsea game. If they could achieve that, it would be huge in terms of resetting the player’s Villa Park mentality for next season. I’m also hoping today marks an end to even considering relegation as a Villa fan, for a decade at least! UTV