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By Chris Bevan
1826: And that's a wrap from me. I hope you've enjoyed today's action as much as I have - the end of that Chelsea-Villa game will live long in the memory - and make sure you tune into MOTD2 at 2200 GMT on BBC Two and this website (in the UK) to see highlights from Stamford Bridge and the DW Stadium, plus all the goals from Saturday's games too. The matches come thick and fast at this time of year, so don't forget to join
on Tuesday and Wednesday for the next set of Premier League fixtures. Bye for now.
FULL-TIME:WIGAN 0-1 NEWCASTLE Saj Chowdhuryreports: "Wigan were woeful and the result leaves uncomfortably close to the drop-zone. Newcastle face West Ham next and will go into the match content that they have rediscovered the resolve they showed in the first half of the season."
FULL-TIME:CHELSEA 3-3 ASTON VILLA Jonathan Stevenson reports: "What more could you want from a game of football? Six goals, unbelievable drama at the death, tackles flying in and cards being brandished everywhere you look I'm almost glad I'm not a manager."
1818: Now, I know you won't have forgotten already but here is a quick reminder of what happened in today's Premier League games...
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew after his side's fourth away victory of the season: "I felt we worked really hard and we did the right things at the right times. The group has good character. The discipline shown was first class."
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez on his side's home defeat by Newcastle: "After a very slow start we started to become a threat, but it was one of those games where the first goal was important."
1810: Steve Claridge is currently taking your calls on 606 on BBC Radio 5 live - a lot of Villa fans have phoned up so far, and they seem a bit happier than they did earlier... probably because of that performance at Stamford Bridge. Oh, and if you want to ask Claridge a question about a Football League matter for his weekly video blog, just drop him a line on
From Bobby Laticus Martinez on 606:
"That Wigan display was simply not good enough, no passion, no energy and no ability to pass a simple ball. nothing short of embarrassing and we will be relegated from the premier league. I just hope Bobby leaves because he is a poor manager."
Infostrada Sports on Twitter:
"Newcastle United collect their 4th away win of the PL season & join Blackpool as the only clubs to win more away than at home in 2010/2011."
From Alan Zola on 606:
"Gotta say that was hugely inspirational performance by the Toon players - they kept running at full pace til the final whistle! Deserved win away from home."
1756: A few Newcastle players fling their shirts into the throng of away fans at the DW Stadium at the final whistle. They can all go home happy with a deserved win. The Magpies are up to 10th place, while Wigan remain in 17th, a point and a place above the drop zone.
1754: FULL-TIME Wigan 0-1 Newcastle
1753: A bit embarrassing for Cheik Tiote, who tries to hold on to the ball after it goes out of play and pretends to have been hit in the face when Antolin Alcaraz wrestles it off him. Silly boy. He rolled around like a five-year-old who has been told he cannot have a chocolate bar.
1751: There will be three minutes of time added on at the DW Stadium. Newcastle, who were wasting time down by the corner flag, have just gone close again after the ball broke kindly for Jose Enrique, but his shot fizzed over the bar after he cut in from the left.
1749: Newcastle break through Leon Best, and he has Wayne Routledge up with him as a man over. Best runs past James McArthur, who is still injured, and is into the area... but he staggers, then falls as he shoots and ends up missing the target. That would have wrapped things up.
1748: Late pressure from Wigan, who hoist a succession of balls into the Newcastle box. Nothing the visitors can't deal with though.
1747: Joey Barton lunges in on James McArthur (who I wrongly called James McCarthy when he came on at half-time). The Wigan players are enraged but Howard Webb calms everyone down before booking the Magpies midfielder. he's right - that was yellow, not red.
1745: A final substitution for Wigan, with four minutes to go. Ronnie Stam is coming off, and Callum McManaman - who is not related to ex-Liverpool and England winger Steve - is on. Newcastle are making a change too: Alan Smith replaces Kevin Nolan.
1742: Wigan have huffed and puffed a lot in this second half but they have not forced Steve Harper into a save yet. They want a penalty when Mauro Boselli's shot hits Steven Taylor in the box - and it does seem to strike his arm - but Howard Webb says no.
From anonymous Newcastle fan via text: "Why is Leon Best coming on? Trying to get some use out of him before we sell him no doubt."
I think it is called putting someone in 'the shop window'.
1739: Newcastle's Wayne Routledge reminds me a lot of an ex-Nottingham Forest player, by the name of Franz Carr. Remember him? All pace, no end product. Routledge has just demonstrated exactly that by dancing past Antolin Alcaraz before delivering a cross into the stands behind Ali Al Habsi's goal.
1737: Another Newcastle change. Leon Best replaces Shola Ameobi. That's a striker for a striker.
1735: Newcastle break forward through Wayne Routledge on the right but he cannot make a cross count despite having two bites of the cherry. Wigan seem to have run out of ideas, and they are running out of time too. They have 15 minutes left to try to conjure up an equaliser
From Clarkee, via text: "Looks like Gutierrez has come back to life, after a few weeks out on the left looking like he is scared to go at people. Go on Jonas!"
1732: Apparently Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is at the DW Stadium too. He's probably watching on-loan United midfielder Tom Cleverley, who has faded a bit in the last few minutes after a bright opening half.
1731: A first change for Newcastle. Wayne Routledge is on for Peter Lovenkrands... and is almost played in straight away - Jonas Gutierrez threaded a great pass through but Routledge was heading away from goal because he thought he was offside.
1729: More woodwork, but Newcastle should really be 2-0 up. Joey Barton sends over a free-kick from the right-hand side of the area and Steven Taylor rises unmarked in front of goal to thump his header against the bar.
rjd203 on Twitter:
"Re 1719. Of course Jordi Gomez got booed by Wigan fans. He's a "Geordie" and they are playing Newcastle!"
1726: Kevin Nolan and (especially) Joey Barton are keeping Newcastle ticking over nicely in the middle of the park but Jonas Gutierrez is having a decent game down the left too. It takes three Wigan players to stop him on his latest run down that flank, and I will overlook the fact he kicked the ball straight out of play with his next touch.
1723: Newcastle's first real attack of the second half sees Jonas Gutierrez get down the left to whip in a decent cross that Gary Caldwell can only clear as far as Kevin Nolan. The Magpies skipper heads down to Fabricio Coloccini at the far post, but his attempt to play a return pass is poor, and the chance is gone. About 25 of the 90 minutes to go.
1719: Mauro Boselli is coming on for Wigan. The non-scoring (for the Latics) £6m Argentine striker replaces Jordi Gomez, who is jeered by his own fans as he walks off.
SNewport01 on Twitter:
"Re 1704. I've watched enough MOTD and police documentaries to know that Northerners don't understand the concept of cold!"
1714: Wigan continue to press. Hugo Rodallega has two shots from outside the area in the space of two minutes, but is well off target with both.
1712: Wigan have been the better team since the restart but no end-product yet. Their latest attack ends when Jordi Gomez tumbles too easily as he is shadowed by Fabricio Coloccini in the right-hand corner, and Howard Webb is not fooled. By the way, Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson is at the DW Stadium... maybe looking at a prospective January signing?
1709: Newcastle break quickly and Shola Ameobi only has to clip a pass through to Peter Lovenkrands to send the Danish striker clear. Sadly for the Magpies, Ameobi does not make proper contact with the ball, and Wigan are able to clear easily.
1708: Jonas Gutierrez goes to ground under an innocuous looking challenge from Wigan's Steve Gohouri near the left-hand touchline and demands that a yellow card be shown. Howard Webb, rightly, says no chance.
1705: One change by Wigan at the break. James McArthur is on for Hendry Thomas... and the Latics have just got the second half under way.
1704: Some, er, interesting fancy dress from the Newcastle fans at the DW Stadium - general themes seem to be cricket whites and cross-dressing - and a lot of bare flesh on display too. That's brave in this weather.
Infostrada Sports on Twitter:
"Newcastle United have won four of their last five Premier League away matches in which they have held a half-time lead."
From Sandy from Edinburgh, via text: "Very impressed by Newcastle so far but this match should highlight that Alan Pardew NEEDS to get a good striker in during January. They have missed too many chances already in the last 20 minutes."
1649: HALF-TIME WIGAN 0-1 NEWCASTLE Saj Chowdhury's
HT snapshot: "Both sides have created chances which owe more to poor defending than great attacking play. Newcastle looked the more assured it but it would be foolish to assume the scoreline will remain as it is."
1647: Newcastle have a free-kick in a dangerous position after Gary Caldwell is booked for felling Jonas Gutierrez out on the left. Joey Barton (who else?) is over it... but bends it straight over the bar.
1646: Yet again, Newcastle waste a decent opening. Joey Barton's cross finds Peter Lovenkrands but he cannot keep his header down. He feels he was impeded, but I think the ball was just too high for him anyway.
1645: The Magpies threaten again, this time on the break down the left. Jose Enrique feeds Jonas Gutierrez and Ali Al Habsi has to rush off his line to block. Less than a minute of the first half to go, and Newcastle could easily be further ahead.
1644: Chances for Newcastle. A couple of them. First, Shola Ameobi and Peter Lovenkrands link up well again, with only a solid tackle from Antolin Alcaraz denying Lovenkrands. From the corner that follows, Joey Barton floats the ball in and Fabricio Coloccini dashes in to meet it, to head against the top of the bar from near the edge of the area. That move was straight off the training ground.
1640: Ben Watson goes in Howard Webb's book for a late challenge on Cheik Tiote. Watson stepped in to make sure he wasn't getting past him on the halfway line.
1637: Wigan wake up, and they are almost level. After Tom Cleverley's curling shot is deflected just wide, Gary Caldwell rises to head against the bar from the resulting corner before Hugo Rodallega smashes the rebound over from close range. Newcastle fans can breathe again.
1633: Wigan are caught in possession again, when Tom Cleverley dwells too long on the ball in his own half, and Newcastle are in again. Joey Barton's low cross finds Peter Lovenkrands in space, in front of goal... but he turns into trouble and Ben Watson is back to clear before he can get a shot away.
1630: Not much of a response from Wigan yet. They need to get the ball off Newcastle first, I suppose.
Infostrada Sports on Twitter:
"It is well over two years (August 17, 2008) since Newcastle last failed to win a Premier League away match in which they scored first."
1625: The more you see that Newcastle goal, the worse it gets from Wigan's point of view. They dallied at the back when Shola Ameobi flicked on Steve Harper's punt upfield, and paid the price for trying to play it around on the edge of their own area... which is when Joey Barton stole possession.
Newcastle goal: No Andy Carroll, but the long-ball definitely works for the Magpies here. Wigan cannot deal with Steve Harper's clearance and, after Ali Al Habsi parries Joey Barton's diagonal drive, Peter Lovenkrands follows up by hitting the post before Shola Ameobi turns in the rebound.
1621: GOALFLASH Wigan 0-1 Newcastle (Ameobi)
From anonymous Wigan fan via text: "Hope we don't miss N'Zogbia too much, he's pivotal to our attack, although Cleverley and Rodallega look potent together. Come on the Latics... mid-table here we come!"
1617: Another sniff for Wigan. Mohamed Diame does well to get down the left flank and finds Tom Cleverley, who is unmarked and running into the box. It's just a shame about the finish, really, because Cleverley cannot keep his hooked first-time shot down and it flies over.
1614: Jordi Gomez was top-drawer in the Championship with Swansea but he hasn't really done it in the top flight since following Roberto Martinez to Wigan, has he? Watch him prove me wrong today, though.
1610: Referee Howard Webb, awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours list, dishes out his first yellow card of the afternoon when Newcastle's Danny Simpson lunges in on Jordi Gomez.
Aston Villa boss Gerard Houllier on his struggling side's thrilling 3-3 draw with Chelsea: "That was a huge demonstration of personality and character. The fighting spirit was there. I'm delighted for the fans because they have really got behind us. We picked an experienced team because we thought that would be best, but the goal at the end was made by our two youngest players."
1607: A decent first opening for the Latics too. A free-kick is cleared as far as Tom Cleverley on the edge of the box and his shot is heading for the top corner until Steve Harper gets across to push the ball round his post.
SamBaldwin19 on Twitter:
"Massive game for the Toon. Our chance to prove Carroll isn't all we've got and we deserve to be in this league."
1605: Oh dear. Andy Carroll would probably have made more of this too. Danny Simpson crosses from the right and Shola Ameobi, all alone at the back post, makes a mess of his header and fails to find the target. Still, this is a decent start by the Magpies.
1603: Joey Barton hoists a free-kick into the Wigan area. No Andy Carroll to get on the end of those today, and the Latics clear their lines easily enough.
1601: Newcastle get things started at the DW Stadium.
From Dave, via text: "I have just come out of The Shed at Stamford Bridge. I overhead the bloke behind me say it would be a good result to finish fourth this season. Scary thing is he is right."
From a hopeful Wigan fan, via text: "I reckon Wigan have a better passing game than most give us credit for. With Andy Carroll out and Newcastle forced out of the long ball, we have a great chance to win."
1555: Give this page a cheeky refresh and you will be able to listen to live commentary of Wigan-Newcastle on BBC Radio 5 live (if you're in the UK). Kick-off is just five minutes away.
Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti on his side's dramatic draw with Aston Villa that leaves them fifth in the table, six points behind leaders Manchester United: "I'm disappointed because we worked very hard in the second half to come back into the game when 2-1 down. We did a fantastic job, we came back and scored to make it 3-2 and everyone thought the game was finished. We needed to win this game. We didn't and now it's more difficult to prepare for the next game."
1547: By the way, Marc Albrighton came off the bench for Villa just after Didier Drogba's equaliser, replacing Gabriel Agbonlahor. I would have told you nearer the time, but a few goals were flying in...
1546: Interesting to read into a couple of the celebrations for Chelsea's goals just now. Nobody seemed to want to congratulate Didier Drogba for his equaliser, while the whole team went nuts when John Terry bagged what was perceived to be the winner, running over to embrace Carlo Ancelotti. So, whether or not Drogba is Mr Popular, the squad are behind their manager, I think?
From Jamie B, via text: "Nice to see some positivity in the Newcastle starting XI with Lovenkrands finally getting the chance he needs. Come on the Toon!"
WIGAN v NEWCASTLE TEAM NEWS Saj Chowdhury
reports: "Spanish defender Adrian Lopez starts from the bench after his protracted transfer was finally completed last week. Jordi Gomez comes in for the suspended Charles N'Zogbia. Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper returns to the line-up after recovering from a serious shoulder injury. Left-back Jose Enrique and midfielder Kevin Nolan also return to the starting XI while Peter Lovenkrands partners Shola Ameobi in attack, with fellow striker Andy Carroll out injured."
From anonymous Villa fan via text: "I am suffering very mixed emotions. Gutted we couldn't hold on for a win, delighted we got that last-gasp equaliser and peeved that that result will keep Houllier in charge a little longer."
gogs_101 on Twitter:
"Albrighton for England, anyone? What a cross! Chelsea absolutely caught napping."
Wigan v Newcastle line-ups Wigan: Al Habsi, Stam, Gary Caldwell, Alcaraz, Gohouri, Gomez, Thomas, Watson, Diame, Cleverley, Rodallega. Subs: Pollitt, Boselli, Steven Caldwell, McArthur, Lopez, Figueroa, McManaman. Newcastle: Harper, Simpson, Steven Taylor, Coloccini, Jose Enrique, Barton, Nolan, Tiote, Gutierrez, Ameobi, Lovenkrands. Subs: Krul, Williamson, Routledge, Perch, Smith, Best, Ranger. Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)
WIGAN v NEWCASTLE (1600 GMT) Saj Chowdhury
reports: "Wigan have this uncanny knack of grinding out results just as people start to write them off. They haven't lost in the league since late November and victory over the Magpies today would see them take a seat in mid-table. The Newcastle players probably don't know what time of day it is at the moment. They've gained three points from nine under new manager Alan Pardew, although they have performed admirably in those defeats. Prediction: Write some scores on pieces of paper, then pull one out of a hat."
1530: Have you got your breath back yet? Good, because Wigan versus Newcastle is coming up in very shortly.
1528: Six goals, nine bookings, and stacks of late drama: That's what I call entertainment. There is no way Villa keeper Brad Friedel deserved to be on the losing side, and he deservedly gets recognition from the travelling fans. Chelsea? They looked likely to lose but then were odds on to win... so a draw will be a big disappointment.
1525: FULL-TIME Chelsea 3-3 Aston Villa (wow!)
1523: This is an incredible finish to a thrilling game. Chelsea have just gone within inches of a fourth goal with Didier Drogba meeting Jose Bosingwa's cross at the near post but steering his first-time shot just wide.
Villa goal: Shocking defending by Chelsea and their hard work is undone in an instant. Marc Albrighton's cross finds Ciaran Clark ghosting in completely unmarked at the back post to glance his header home.
1522: You couldn't make this up, could you?
1521: GOALFLASH Chelsea 3-3 Aston Villa (Clark)
Chelsea goal: Talk about a turnaround. In the final minute of the 90, Didier Drogba's header is brilliantly kept out by Brad Friedel but the rebound is turned in by John Terry. The champions' comeback is complete.
1518: GOALFLASH Chelsea 3-2 Aston Villa (Terry)
Chelsea goal: John Terry plays the ball into the area, and Didier Drogba's flick finds Salomon Kalou in space in front of goal. Brad Friedel makes a superb save to deny Kalou but Drogba is on to the rebound and his shot from a narrow angle beats Friedel and gets past Carlos Cuellar on the line.
1513: GOALFLASH Chelsea 2-2 Aston Villa (Drogba)
1509: Ashley Young comes off worst in a tangle with John Terry and goes to ground but referee Lee Mason wants play to continue. Chelsea pour forward again, but the Villa defence get bodies in the way inside the area... before Dan Sturridge smashes a shot against a team-mate in a blue shirt. It's just not happening for the defending champions.
1508: A final roll of the dice for Carlo Ancelotti. He makes his third substitution by bringing on Daniel Sturridge for Nicolas Anelka.
1506: Stewart Downing had a pop from distance just before that Terry booking but it is still Chelsea who are dominating possession, in search of an equaliser. About 12 minutes left for them to find one.
1504: I thought Lee Mason had lost his yellow card, but not so. John Terry dives in as Ashley Young attempts to break and he gets man, not ball on the half-way line. That's a booking for the Chelsea skipper.
1503: Desperate defending by Ciaran Clark, who is just about able to reach Salomon Kalou's pullback before the ball reaches Frank Lampard in front of goal.
1502: Hmmm. Still no way through for Chelsea at the moment - so time for another change. Ramires, who has not exactly impressed me today, is off... Salomon Kalou is on instead.
1500: More possession by Chelsea. More defending by Villa. All 11 of Gerard Houllier's men are in their own half, though, so there is only a brief respite whenever they do get possession.
1457: Chelsea are really knocking on the door now but Brad Friedel is keeping them at bay, almost single-handedly. Frank Lampard slips Florent Malouda clear but the veteran American keeper is off his line quickly to block his angled shot with his legs. Another super save.
blearyboy on Twitter:
"Watching Chelsea over the last few weeks, you can only surmise that Ray Wilkins was the greatest coach of all time"
1453: A great stop by Brad Friedel protects Villa's lead. Florent Malouda is offside when he gets on the end of a ball into the box and his knockdown finds Frank Lampard running in to smash in a first-time shot into the floor - Friedel somehow gets a hand to it to tip it over the bar. Better by the Blues.
1451: Right then. Chelsea need to find some composure here - they are definitely rattled at the moment, and the home crowd are beginning to get frustrated - noticeably when some poor control by Nicolas Anelka signals the end of an attack.
1447: Chelsea make a change, which I suspect will be quite a popular one with Blues fans judging from the texts/tweets I've been receiving. Paulo Ferreira is taken off, and replaced by Jose Bosingwa. Just over 30 minutes of the 90 left.
1444: At last, Chelsea respond with a bit of purpose. Ramires advances to the edge of the area but is crowded out of it and, from the resulting corner, a sweet Didier Drogba volley is blocked. Still Villa cannot clear their lines and, after Emile Heskey's slip, the ball is played out to Ramires who has space on the right of goal... but drags his shot wide.
1442: I've just seen the replay of Villa's second goal and it is definitely Emile Heskey's. A textbook header from him.
From anon via text: "There are a lot of Chelsea players severely under performing but can I really be the only person who thinks Paulo Ferreira is living off his first season at Chelsea? Can't remember the last time I thought he played well?"
1439: Emile Heskey becomes the seventh Villa player to get booked. To be honest, I don't even know what that was for. More importantly, Chelsea are still under the cosh here - just what is wrong with them at the moment?
Villa goal: No escape for Chelsea this time. Ashley Young sprays a free-kick wide to Stewart Downing and he beats Ashley Cole before crossing from the right for Emile Heskey to rise above Jeffrey Bruma and nod home at the far post. Bruma might have got the final touch but let's give it to Heskey for now.
1436: GOALFLASH Chelsea 1-2 Aston Villa (Heskey)
1436: Wow. Villa are almost gifted a second goal straight away. Paulo Ferreira's weak backpass only just reaches Petr Cech before Emile Heskey can latch on to it.
1435: Chelsea get the second half started. No changes from either side, and no more yellow cards either. Not yet, anyway.
1432: Aston Villa only committed nine fouls in the first half, so six bookings is a pretty high ratio even if two of them were for dissent. Still, at least it shows their players are trying this week.
mvflusk on Twitter:
"Can't see the problem with Chelsea's penalty. Collins was all over Malouda and got nowhere near the ball."
1427: As most Villa fans probably know, Frank Lampard loves playing against them - that penalty was his 10th Premier League goal against the midlands side - only Alan Shearer, Robbie Fowler and Thierry Henry (all 12) have scored more. But here's a more encouraging stat for Gerard Houllier's men, courtesy of
who tell me that Chelsea haven't scored more than once in their last nine PL matches, their longest run without scoring at least two in a PL match for 15 years. Will they put that right today?
From Andrew in Peterboro, via text: "I'm feeling a little bit sorry for referee Lee Mason. Yes he got the Chelsea penalty wrong, but the players are kicking chunks out of each other."
1419: HALF-TIME Chelsea 1-1 Aston Villa Jonathan Stevenson's HT snapshotreports: "A tale of two penalties at Stamford Bridge - one controversial, the other stonewall. Villa have been the better team, but their hopes may hinge on whether they can keep 11 players on the pitch. Fascinating."
1418: One last chance for Villa? Yes. Michael Essien brings down Ashley Young on the edge of the right-hand side of the box. Stewart Downing fires it straight at Ashley Cole but gets another go at it and, second-time around, his cross finds James Collins at the far post. Petr Cech has to dive to collect his header back across the face of goal.
1417: Three minutes of added time to be played at the end of the first half. Plenty of time for some more yellow cards then...
1416: I'm sick of using my yellow card graphic already. Villa defender Ciaran Clark blocks off Nicolas Anelka and yes, you guessed it, he is booked by Lee Mason.
1414: What's this? Another booking. Yep, Gabriel Agbonlahor sends Ramires tumbling and becomes the fifth Villa player to see yellow. About two minutes of the first half left.
Villa goal: Another big decision for referee Lee Mason, and he gets this one dead right. The ball ricochets around the Chelsea area after Paulo Ferreira fails to clear quickly enough and as Nigel Reo-Coker latches on to the dropping ball, he is up-ended by Michael Essien. A stonewall pen, and Ashley Young converts it with ease by smashing the ball high into the middle of the net. All-square, which is the least Villa deserve for their display so far.
1411: GOALFLASH Chelsea 1-1 Aston Villa (Ashley Young pen)
1411: PENALTY to Aston Villa
1410: Another booking to tell you about, this time for a Chelsea player after Ramires fouls Stiliyan Petrov.
1409: Oh dear. Another Villa corner sees Stiliyan Petrov and Stewart Downing dally on the edge of the box before Downing's clever chip unlocks the Chelsea defence. The bouncing ball falls for Richard Dunne about eight yards out but, with the goal gaping, he slices his first-time shot over the bar. A huge chance wasted.
1405: Chelsea break forward quickly and Frank Lampard's perfectly weighted clipped ball finds Florent Malouda, who is only denied by Richard Dunne's perfectly-time sliding tackle as he runs into the box. Villa struggle to clear their lines from the resulting corner, with Malouda rounding Ciaran Clark with ease - but he just cannot find a team-mate with his cross.
From villasnorthernstar on 606:
"Why load the box with players for dead balls then roll it short to Petrov? he must really bang them in in training because I'm yet to see him score one of those."
1402: Villa's favourite corner routine involves playing the ball out to Stiliyan Petrov on the edge of the area, who hammers the ball goalwards. Well, that's the idea... it's not working that well at the moment. A change of plan sees Ashley Young cross into the danger zone and Ciaran Clark heads over from around eight yards out. A decent response from the visitors.
1400: James Collins and Brad Friedel were both booked in the aftermath of that penalty decision - they felt Florent Malouda backed into Collins in the first place and TV replays appear to support their view. Lee Mason's card has just come out again, too, because he has booked Nigel Reo-Coker for a nothing challenge on Didier Drogba. A busy few minutes for the referee.
MartinRiotPop on Twitter:
"Re 1349. Saying Chelsea are looking flat and Villa have started brightly only means one thing... Chelsea 1-0."
Chelsea goal: From out of nowhere, Chelsea are ahead. Frank Lampard hoists the ball into the box and, in trying to reach it, James Collins clambers over Florent Malouda. Penalty? Yes, according to referee Lee Mason who, to the anger of the Villa players, points to the spot. Lampard steps up to hammer home the penalty past Brad Friedel. A bit harsh on Villa, who have been the better team so far.
1352: GOALFLASH Chelsea 1-0 Aston Villa (Lampard pen)
1351: PENALTY to Chelsea
1350: Oof! Stiliyan Petrov flies in on Florent Malouda, and gets nowhere near the ball. Referee Lee Mason shows his yellow card for the first time this afternoon.
1349: Stewart Downing is the latest Villa player to have a pop from range, but Petr Cech is right behind his swerving shot. The first 20 minutes or so have gone a lot better than many Villa fans probably expected. They are settled in midfield and have had a couple of sights of goal. Chelsea? They look a bit flat to me.
1345: Ashley Young has run off that injury by the looks of things... he's just tested Petr Cech with a cheeky chip from the right-hand side of the area. Cech had to tip it over - and Young definitely meant that, because he took a little look up to check where Cech was beforehand.
1341: Villa are already about 100% more committed than they were in the first 10 minutes against Manchester City last time out. Some bad news for Gerard Houllier though - Ashley Young has picked up a knock and is limping.
1336: And Chelsea's first efforts on goal follow quickly afterwards. First, Florent Malouda's acrobatic cross-shot is pushed round his post by Brad Friedel and, from the resulting corner, Jeffrey Bruma's goalbound header is blocked by Richard Dunne. Things are livening up.
1334: The first chance falls to Villa. Brad Friedel's clearance is flicked on by Emile Heskey and Gabriel Agbonlahor swivels on the edge of the area to shoot through the legs of Paulo Ferreira... the ball rolls about a yard wide.
1333: It's been pretty cagey so far. Chelsea are passing it around nicely but haven't got close to the Villa area yet.
1330: Here we go. Villa get us under way.
1328: The players emerge from the tunnel at Stamford Bridge. Villa keeper Brad Friedel and recalled defender Richard Dunne were deep in conversation just before they walked out. Friedel was probably asking him politely not to score any own goals today.
From chelseaman, via text: "Houllier can put out an experienced team today for the first time. He should be judged from now. A hard game in store for my boys I think."
Aston Villa boss Gerard Houllier on his team selection: "We're not on the best run at the moment, we've had a difficult couple of games and going to Chelsea is a tricky start to 2011. It is a conscious decision to play an experienced team, because we are playing the champions. The young players have done well but one or two need a rest. It'll be a good game between two good teams."
1321: Hmmm. Judging from some of your texts/tweets no Villa fans think they will get anything at Stamford Bridge today - but a few Chelsea fans are expecting the worst too. Not feeling too confident then?
AdamBusby_ on Twitter:
"Albrighton, who is probably one of the best young players this season, dropped... Houllier can't be staying much longer surely??"
1315: There's been an early kick-off in Scotland for the Old Firm derby between
Rangers and Celtic.
No goals yet but it has been fast and frantic so far, as you might expect.
OptaJoe on Twitter:
"34 - This is Chelsea's lowest points tally after 19 Premier League games since 2001/02 (30 points). Struggle."
From milns on 606:
"I hope Chelsea turn us over so the passionless & clueless Houllier loses his job. I've had enough of him and I want him to go because I seriously fear relegation."
CHELSEA v ASTON VILLA TEAM NEWS Jonathan Stevenson
reports: "New Year, new rearguard for Chelsea as Jeffrey Bruma starts alongside skipper John Terry. The 19-year-old replaces Branislav Ivanovic and makes his first Premier League start, while there's an all-Portuguese swap at right-back as Paulo Ferreira comes in for Jose Bosingwa. It's all change for the visitors as under-the-pump Aston Villa boss Gerard Houllier brings back Richard Dunne, Ciaran Clark, Ashley Young and Emile Heskey into their fragile starting XI."
From ElSquirrel on 606:
"Aston Villa are just the sort of wounded animal Chelsea's toothless lions may be able to finish off for three points, but then wounded animals can always give one last good fight at times and can be dangerous. Right?"
An interesting animal-based analogy from someone called ElSquirrel. Are you speaking from personal experience?
From anonymous Villa fan via text: "Speaking on behalf of, I think, a good majority of Villa fans, Houllier has got three games to save his job. We need at least four points from them. Today result-wise isn't too important but performance-wise we want to see fight and passion unlike our loss at Man City."
Chelsea v Aston Villa line-ups Chelsea: Cech, Ferreira, Bruma, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Essien, Lampard, Anelka, Drogba, Malouda. Subs: Turnbull, Bosingwa, Kalou, Sturridge, Van Aanholt, McEachran, Mellis. Aston Villa: Friedel, Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Clark, Ashley Young, Petrov, Reo-Coker, Downing, Heskey, Agbonlahor. Subs: Marshall, Pires, Albrighton, Delfouneso, Bannan, Lichaj, Herd. Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)
Erm, I'm not sure anyone would be too happy with that (apart from Mr Houllier, probably).
1253: Don't forget I need some chat from you lot too... and some better jokes than my effort at 1243 if possible. That shouldn't be too difficult, should it?
Tweet me at chrisbevan_bbc on Twitter,
join the regulars on
or text me via 81111 (UK).
CHELSEA v ASTON VILLA (1330 GMT) Jonathan Stevenson
reports: "It is 2002 since Chelsea started a year in such a lowly league position, but at least they ended their six-match winless streak
by seeing off Bolton in midweek.
Make that a double and the Blues will complete a winning weekend for the top six. Villa are in freefall - bottom of the form table with five defeats in their last six, they are languishing only a point above the drop zone. Too good to go down? No such thing."
1243: BREAKING TEAM NEWS Dutch teenager Jeffrey Bruma starts in central defence for Chelsea. We will have to wait and see if he plays as sweeper though... full team news to follow very shortly.
1242: By the way, hands up those of you who think Gerard Houllier will still be Aston Villa boss at the start of 2012? And are there any Villa fans out there who want him to be? If you're sick of the speculation over
Roy Hodgson's future at Liverpool,
then expect a whole lot more chat about Houllier if Villa lose today.
1238: Yep, the outcome of our two Premier League games today will help to shape the top and bottom of the table. Defending champions
Chelsea take on struggling Aston Villa,
with both sides desperate to regain some sort of form, not to mention three precious points too. Then Wigan, who are one place above the drop zone,
knowing a win will take them above the Magpies, and possibly as high as 12th. I wouldn't know whether to look up or down the table if I were a Toon fan - the top six is still a possibility, but so is relegation.
1234 GMT: Bored of 2011 already? You really shouldn't be. Not only is this season shaping up to be the most exciting title race for years, around half the teams in the top-flight are involved in a relegation battle. Speaking of which...
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