Saturday, June 19, 2021

Aston Villa 2-1 Chelsea: 5 key talking points as Thomas Tuchel’s side limp over the finish line

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, English Premier League 24 May 2021

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While they might have managed to secure a top-four finish on Sunday afternoon, Chelsea could only limp their way over the finish line with a 2-1 defeat away at Villa Park.

On what was a dramatic final day of fixtures from up and down the country, Thomas Tuchel’s men saw Bertrand Traoré and Anwar El Ghazi hand them their second Premier League defeat in their final three outings.

Despite Ben Chilwell’s consolation goal in the second-half, The Blues were unable to mount a dramatic late turnaround after seeing skipper César Azpilicueta handed a straight red in the final minutes.

Only wrapping up their Champions League return thanks to a favour from Spurs, we have taken a look at five key talking points after Sunday’s meeting at Villa Park.

Traore stuns his former employers

While many might have thought Chelsea would book their top-four spot with a statement on Sunday afternoon, it was one of their former stars that stole all of the headlines.

Becoming a real first-team regular under Dean Smith since returning to the Premier League from Lyon last summer, Bertrand Traoré opened the scoring after 43 minutes following Matt Targett’s corner.

Causing a string of issues in the Chelsea box all afternoon, the former Chelsea starlet wasn’t done there as he also won El Ghazi’s second-half penalty after being tripped by Jorginho’s flailing leg seven minutes after the restart.

More offside heartbreak for Werner

With Azpilicueta correctly ruled to have been offside by VAR moments before Timo Werner put the ball into Emi Martínez’s net, it was even more offside frustration for the struggling German striker.

Failing to hit the ground running at Stamford Bridge since making the move from RB Leipzig, the 25-year-old has now had three goals in his last two Premier League contests ruled out due to offside.

With many questioning the timing of his runs and even reports Chelsea could be looking to bring a specialist coach in for Werner, the German international has been flagged offside 27 times this season, only Jamie Vardy, Ollie Watkins and Sadio Mane have been caught out more.

Jorginho – Chelsea’s top scorer

With Werner enduring another quiet afternoon in the Midlands on Sunday in a performance that almost summed up his first season at Chelsea, Tuchel’s side once again showed their lack of killer instinct.

With the likes of Mason Mount missing a string of clear-cut chances at Villa Park, midfielder Jorginho remarkably ends the 2020/21 campaign by lifting Chelsea’s Golden Boot.

Only racking up seven goals this season and with all of those coming from the penalty spot, the Italian international also became The Blues’ lowest-scoring top-scorer in a top-flight campaign since way back in 1975.

Chelsea left sweating over Mendy

With N’Golo Kante missing Sunday’s trip to Villa Park with a hamstring issue, Tuchel has been handed another major injury headache ahead of their upcoming Champions League final.

In what was a hammer blow to The Blues, Chelsea saw number one keeper Edouard Mendy come limping off at the start of the second-half after colliding with the frame of the goal as he tried to prevent Traore’s opening strike.

The former Rennes star will undergo a scan on a suspected rib injury and Chelsea remain in the dark as to whether Mendy will be able to start between the sticks out in Portugal.

Villa upset Chelsea again

While Aston Villa might have eventually failed to land themselves a top-half finish this season, Dean Smith’s side once again showed that they can match anyone on their day.

Welcoming back skipper and talisman Jack Grealish earlier in the month, the former Brentford boss also saw his side enjoy a real flurry against the former Premier League champions this season.

Snatching four points off of Chelsea after playing out a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge back in December, those four points are in fact more than they had mustered from their previous 11 league meetings (W1 L10).

Match Report:

Aston Villa: Martinez (7.5), Konsa (7), Mings (7), Hause (7.5), Targett (6.5), McGinn (7.5), Nakamba (7.5), Traore (8), Grealish (6.5), El Ghazi (7), Watkins (6.5)

Subs: Chukwuemeka (6), Ramsey (6)

Chelsea: Mendy (6), James (5.5), Silva (7), Rudiger (5.5), Azpilicueta (3), Kovacic (4), Jorginho (3.5), Chilwell (6.5), Pulisic (4.5), Mount (4.5), Werner (4)

Subs: Kepa (6), Ziyech (5.5), Havertz (5.5)

Goals: Aston Villa: Traore (43′), El Ghazi (52′) – Chelsea: Chilwell (70′)

Yellow Cards: Aston Villa: McGinn, Nakamba, Martinez – Chelsea: Jorginho, Werner, Kovacic, Kepa

Red Cards: Azpilicueta

Referee: Stuart Attwell

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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