Chelsea 0-2 Aston Villa: Player ratings as wasteful Blues slump to defeat
By Tom Gott
Chelsea tumbled into the bottom half of the Premier League table after a 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Graham Potter's side dominated on the stats sheet but failed the eye test and goals from Ollie Watkins and John McGinn allowed Villa to leapfrog Chelsea in the standings.
The Blues were nearly gifted an opener inside five minutes after a poor pass from Emi Martinez was snatched by Mykhailo Mudryk, but the Villa stopper atoned for his error by saving the shot that followed.
Watkins went straight down the other end and scuffed a one-on-one of his own when the in-form striker should have done far better.
Chelsea had plenty of possession but Villa were lively on the counter and McGinn sent an effort from the edge of the box crashing against the bar, and the visitors took the lead soon after as a Blues mix-up gifted Watkins yet another free run at goal, and his dinked effort nestled perfectly into the back of the net.
There was almost an immediate reply from Joao Felix, whose low drive drew an excellent save from Martinez, before Enzo Fernandez headed wide from an offside position and Kai Havertz volleyed into the arms of the goalkeeper.
Mudryk then wasted another great chance, taking his one-on-one far too early and slotting it comfortably into Martinez's hands, while Ben Chilwell hit the post from a narrow angle as Chelsea tried to claw their way back into things.
Chilwell had the ball in the back of the net on the stroke of half-time but saw his headed effort chalked off by the referee for an apparent push with the final action of the half.
The Chelsea pressure continued after the break but their profligacy was punished as McGinn curled home an excellent strike from outside the box ten minutes into the second half to double Villa's lead.
N'Golo Kante was introduced off the bench for his first minutes since August and he had the chance to mark his return with a goal, only to drag his effort wide of goal.
Villa were happy to sit back and gift Chelsea plenty of aimless possession in deep areas, with the Blues knocking on the door without ever really looking like they knew how to get through, and despite their statistical dominance, it's hard to argue with the result.
Chelsea player ratings (3-4-3)
GK: Kepa Arrizabalaga - 4/10 - Came too far off his line and invited Watkins to chip the ball in for the opener. Thwarted by another strike from range.
CB: Reece James - 6/10 - Made a massive tackle to stop Ramsey midway through the first half, but felt wasted in this defensive role.
CB: Kalidou Koulibaly - 3/10 - Blasted by Chilwell for some awful early passes. On a planet of his own to allow Watkins a number of sights of goal.
CB: Marc Cucurella - 3/10 - The frustrating side of Cucurella was back. Offered nothing in attack and made the poor header for the opener.
RM: Ruben Loftus-Cheek - 5/10 - Involved in a whole lot but guilty of some underwhelming moves in the final third.
CM: Enzo Fernandez - 6/10 - Some lovely passes to try and bring Chelsea's wing-backs into the game.
CM: Mateo Kovacic - 5/10 - One of those games which had fans questioning what Kovacic actually offers. Involved a lot without ever really doing anything.
LM: Ben Chilwell - 6/10 - Chelsea's most dangerous player. Unfortunate to see his header ruled out.
RW: Kai Havertz - 5/10 - Buzzed around without ever really offering anything of note.
ST: Joao Felix - 5/10 - Had the odd excellent moment but didn't do enough.
LW: Mykhailo Mudryk - 2/10 - Shocking in front of goal. Really clumsy on the ball and looked terrified whenever he was asked to score a goal.
Noni Madueke (57' for Loftus-Cheek) - 5/10 - A few nice touches but largely uninspiring.
N'Golo Kante (57' for Mudryk) - 6/10 - Probably Chelsea's second-best attacker after Chilwell, which speaks volumes.
Conor Gallagher (80' for Kovacic) - 5/10 - Limited time to get involved.
Christian Pulisic (80' for Cucurella) - 5/10 - Very few meaningful touches.
Graham Potter - 2/10 - Predictable and boring. Playing James at centre-back was wrong and preferring Cucurella over Benoit Badiashile was just as bad. Fans were chanting for him to be sacked - what's Julian Nagelsmann up to these days?
Aston Villa player ratings (4-4-2)
GK: Emiliano Martinez - 8/10 - A number of impressive saves when Chelsea threatened to equalise.
RB: Ashley Young - 5/10 - Didn't really enjoy trying to keep up with Chilwell.
CB: Ezri Konsa - 7/10 - Some unconvincing passes but made up for it with some brilliant defensive plays.
CB: Tyrone Mings - 6/10 - A little fortunate to avoid an early booking in a nervy first half. Gave possession away a few too many times but thankfully was not made to pay.
LB: Alex Moreno - 7/10 - A good battle with Loftus-Cheek. Won some and lost some but usually came out on top.
RM: John McGinn - 8/10 - A slow first half but dominant after the break. A sensational goal as well.
CM: Douglas Luiz - 7/10 - Physically dominant and technically impressive. Won the midfield battle.
CM: Boubacar Kamara - 5/10 - Injured himself with a cynical early challenge and was hooked at the break.
LM: Jacob Ramsey - 7/10 - An industrious performance. Could've been more dangerous on the counter but did his best work on the other side of the ball.
ST: Emiliano Buendia - 5/10 - A quiet outing as he was forced to do more defending than attacking.
ST: Ollie Watkins - 7/10 - Fed off scraps and absolutely loved it. Won his battles with Koulibaly and took his goal very well.
Calum Chambers (46' for Kamara) - 7/10 - An excellent 45 minutes. Relished the defensive battle.
Leon Bailey (76' for Buendia) - 5/10 - Lively but not really involved.
Leander Dendoncker (87' for Luiz) - N/A
Lucas Digne (89' for Moreno) - N/A
Unai Emery - 7/10 - Dull and defensive but you can't argue with the results. This is what Emery wanted and it's what he got.