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Page last updated at 18:22 GMT, Saturday, 16 October 2010 19:22 UK

Aston Villa   0 - 0   Chelsea

Ramires and Petrov
Aston Villa have an excellent home record against Chelsea

By Kevin Darling

A below-par Chelsea edged into a five-point lead at the top of the table after being held by dogged Aston Villa.

The hosts started brightly as Stephen Ireland screwed an effort wide and Petr Cech tipped John Carew's shot around the post within the first five minutes.

The Blues improved after the break and Branislav Ivanovic and Nicolas Anelka both headed against the woodwork.

Ciaran Clark also hit the post for Villa while Nigel Reo-Coker spurned a great chance to win it at the death.

A win would have seen Chelsea pull seven points clear at the Premier League summit following Manchester United's surprise draw with West Brom earlier in the day, but they will be pleased with a hard-earned point at a ground where they have only won once in the last 12 seasons.

Villa deserved their point - Ancelotti

They came up against a mature and determined Villa side in Gerard Houllier's first home league match as manager - and the hosts had two excellent early chances to take the lead as Chelsea began in alarmingly sloppy fashion.

First, Stewart Downing raced clear on the counter-attack after Florent Malouda was dispossessed and fed Ireland in the middle, but the Irishman sent his effort just wide.

Moments later, Chelsea again gave the ball away cheaply and Carew found himself through on goal but Cech did well to divert the striker's side-footed effort just past the post.

With Didier Drogba joining Frank Lampard on the sidelines, it was the first time in 11 months Chelsea had been without the pair in a league match - and it showed.

The Blues enjoyed plenty of possession as the game settled down from its frantic opening but they created little to trouble Villa's diligent defence.

606: DEBATE
Inter Forlan

It took the visitors 33 minutes to register a shot on target and even that was a regulation save for Brad Friedel from Michael Essien's tame 20-yard effort.

Villa looked far more dangerous and they again went close to an opener when Ireland found space on the edge of the box and hit a fierce goal-bound strike that was heroically blocked by Ivanovic.

Somewhat inevitably, Chelsea emerged for the second half looking far sharper and Malouda's powerful strike at Friedel on 47 minutes was better than anything the Blues mustered before the break.

As the league leaders began to pin Villa back, Anelka created their first real opportunity of the match when he cut inside and forced a good stop from Friedel from 10 yards.

Houllier pleased with Villa progress

The last time these sides met in the league back in March, Chelsea thumped the Villans 7-1. But it soon became clear that a solitary goal was likely to be enough to decide this encounter as the contest became increasingly scrappy.

In the closing stages, both sides very nearly grabbed that decisive strike from a set-piece.

First, Ivanovic powered a header against the post after Malouda whipped in a corner. Then, Ashley Young's free-kick was flicked on to the post by Clark.

The Blues went even closer to notching a winner as injury time approached when Ashley Cole provided an inch-perfect cross for Anelka but the Frenchman contrived to head into the ground and onto the bar.

And there was still time for one last moment of drama when Villa midfielder Reo-Coker won the ball in Chelsea's half and found himself one-on-one with Cech, only to send a dinked effort inches wide of the post.


Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier:
"The only thing missing from a good game was goals. It was football played at a great pace between two good sides.

"We had the better chances in the first half, but we were under the cosh in the second half before coming back at the end.

"We had to make late changes, but I want to pay homage to the players who filled in and the way they responded. They showed great attitude and a great spirit."

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti:
"We didn't start so well and gave Villa a couple of good chances, but in the second half we played very well.

"We did everything to try and score. The way we played in the second half we deserved to win, but Villa did well in the first half, so a draw is fair.

"I am not disappointed about failing to go seven points clear. We knew this would be a difficult game. Last year we lost here. This is a good result at this stage of the season, and to be five points clear is good."

Live text and stats

 

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Aston Villa 0-0 Chelsea FT
(HT 0-0)

      Aston Villa

      Substitutes

      Chelsea

      Substitutes

      Ref: Lee MasonAtt: 40,122
      ASTON VILLA
      CHELSEA

      Possession

      • Aston Villa 47%
      • Chelsea 53%

      Attempts on target

      • Aston Villa 5
      • Chelsea 6

      Attempts off target

      • Aston Villa 6
      • Chelsea 7

      Corners

      • Aston Villa 9
      • Chelsea 5

      Fouls

      • Aston Villa 11
      • Chelsea 11
      • Final Result
      • Full Time
      • 90:00+3:55 The referee blows his whistle to end the game.
      • 90:00+2:54 Close range shot by Nigel Reo-Coker goes wide of the right-hand upright.
      • 90:00+1:17 The official flags Jose Bosingwa offside. Brad Friedel takes the free kick.
      • 90:00+0:06 Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Ashley Young, save by Petr Cech.
      • 88:44 Nicolas Anelka takes a shot.
      • 86:47 Shot on goal by Ashley Cole from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.
      • 86:28 Florent Malouda takes a shot. Blocked by Habib Beye.
      • 86:17 Joshua McEachran takes a shot. James Collins gets a block in.
      • 85:20 Steve Sidwell is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Petr Cech.
      • 85:01 Foul by Ashley Cole on Ashley Young, free kick awarded. James Collins restarts play with the free kick.
      • 83:32 Substitution Steve Sidwell joins the action as a substitute, replacing Stephen Ireland.
      • 83:05 Booking The referee cautions Joshua McEachran for unsporting behaviour.
      • 82:50 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Habib Beye by Joshua McEachran. Brad Friedel restarts play with the free kick.
      • 80:56 Free kick awarded for a foul by Joshua McEachran on Stephen Ireland. Nigel Reo-Coker takes the direct free kick.
      • 79:59 The free kick is delivered left-footed by Florent Malouda from right wing.
      • 79:59 Booking Ashley Young receives a caution.
      • 79:52 Ashley Young concedes a free kick for a foul on Jose Bosingwa.
      • 78:22 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ashley Young by Branislav Ivanovic. Centre by Ashley Young, Header by Ciaran Clark from inside the area hits the post.
      • 76:12 Corner taken left-footed by Florent Malouda from the left by-line to the near post, Header by Branislav Ivanovic from inside the area hits the post.
      • 75:21 Ciaran Clark gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Nicolas Anelka. Free kick taken by Michael Essien.
      • 75:07 Substitution Joshua McEachran joins the action as a substitute, replacing Ramires.
      • 74:53 Substitution Jose Bosingwa replaces Paulo Ferreira.
      • 74:41 Booking Ciaran Clark is cautioned.
      • 73:28 Corner from the left by-line taken by Stewart Downing, clearance made by Florent Malouda.
      • 73:14 Substitution Nathan Delfouneso joins the action as a substitute, replacing John Carew.
      • 72:06 Michael Essien fouled by James Collins, the ref awards a free kick. Mikel restarts play with the free kick.
      • 71:49 James Collins takes a shot. Michael Essien gets a block in.
      • 71:32 Short corner worked by Stewart Downing.
      • 70:57 Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Ashley Young.
      • 68:02 Booking Booking for Stephen Ireland for unsporting behaviour.
      • 67:41 Effort from deep inside the area by Nicolas Anelka misses to the left of the goal.
      • 66:49 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Stephen Ireland by Mikel. Direct free kick taken by James Collins.
      • 64:53 Free kick crossed by Florent Malouda.
      • 64:53 Booking The referee cautions Stephen Warnock for unsporting behaviour.
      • 64:41 Stephen Warnock gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Nicolas Anelka.
      • 63:27 Florent Malouda delivers the ball, Brad Friedel makes a save.
      • 62:14 Michael Essien takes a shot. Save made by Brad Friedel.
      • 59:20 Booking John Terry is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
      • 59:08 John Terry gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Ashley Young. James Collins restarts play with the free kick.
      • 53:06 Nicolas Anelka takes a shot. Save by Brad Friedel.
      • 51:58 Stiliyan Petrov fouled by Florent Malouda, the ref awards a free kick. James Collins takes the free kick.
      • 49:25 Free kick awarded for a foul by John Carew on John Terry. Petr Cech takes the free kick.
      • 47:37 Florent Malouda takes a shot. Save made by Brad Friedel.
      • 45:27 Substitution Yuri Zhirkov replaces Gael Kakuta.
      • 45:01 The game restarts for the second half.
      • Half Time
      • 45:00+1:17 The half-time whistle blows.
      • 44:51 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Ashley Young from the left by-line, Header from deep inside the area by James Collins goes harmlessly over the crossbar.
      • 43:58 Corner taken by Ashley Young from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Ramires.
      • 42:41 The assistant referee flags for offside against John Carew. Paulo Ferreira restarts play with the free kick.
      • 41:38 Stiliyan Petrov gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Michael Essien. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Florent Malouda, clearance made by Stephen Warnock.
      • 38:59 Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Stephen Ireland goes harmlessly over the crossbar.
      • 38:36 Stephen Ireland takes a shot. Blocked by Branislav Ivanovic.
      • 37:20 Nicolas Anelka is ruled offside. Brad Friedel takes the indirect free kick.
      • 35:40 Nicolas Anelka is ruled offside. James Collins restarts play with the free kick.
      • 34:59 Long distance effort on goal by Nicolas Anelka goes wide left of the target.
      • 33:51 Michael Essien takes a shot. Save by Brad Friedel.
      • 32:04 Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Florent Malouda from the left by-line, Effort on goal by Gael Kakuta from just outside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the target.
      • 30:52 Nigel Reo-Coker concedes a free kick for a foul on Branislav Ivanovic. Direct free kick taken by Petr Cech.
      • 26:33 Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Florent Malouda from the left by-line to the near post, Ciaran Clark manages to make a clearance.
      • 24:09 Foul by Ashley Young on Paulo Ferreira, free kick awarded. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Gael Kakuta from right wing, Stiliyan Petrov manages to make a clearance.
      • 23:46 Foul by Stiliyan Petrov on Ramires, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Michael Essien.
      • 22:12 Shot from long range by Stiliyan Petrov misses to the left of the target.
      • 19:36 Corner taken left-footed by Stewart Downing from the right by-line, John Carew takes a shot. Save made by Petr Cech.
      • 19:23 Stewart Downing takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, Nicolas Anelka makes a clearance.
      • 19:11 Stiliyan Petrov takes a shot. Ramires gets a block in.
      • 15:50 Gael Kakuta has shot on goal from just outside the penalty box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
      • 15:33 Florent Malouda takes a short corner.
      • 13:33 Corner taken short by Florent Malouda.
      • 12:08 Substitution Ciaran Clark is brought on as a substitute for Richard Dunne.
      • 12:08 Booking Booking for Michael Essien for unsporting behaviour.
      • 11:59 Unfair challenge on Stiliyan Petrov by Michael Essien results in a free kick. Free kick taken by James Collins.
      • 10:28 Free kick awarded for a foul by Gael Kakuta on Stiliyan Petrov. Direct free kick taken by James Collins.
      • 8:37 Ashley Cole concedes a free kick for a foul on Stiliyan Petrov. Nigel Reo-Coker takes the direct free kick.
      • 8:07 Paulo Ferreira fouled by Ashley Young, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Branislav Ivanovic.
      • 5:01 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Stewart Downing played to the near post, clearance made by Nicolas Anelka.
      • 4:51 John Carew takes a shot. Save by Petr Cech.
      • 4:09 The ball is sent over by Stephen Warnock, Petr Cech makes a save.
      • 3:46 John Carew fouled by Branislav Ivanovic, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Stiliyan Petrov.
      • 3:12 The assistant referee flags for offside against Nicolas Anelka. Brad Friedel restarts play with the free kick.
      • 2:13 Effort from inside the area by Stephen Ireland misses to the left of the goal.
      • 0:53 Free kick awarded for a foul by Stiliyan Petrov on Branislav Ivanovic. Free kick taken by Branislav Ivanovic.
      • 0:00 The referee gets the game started.

      Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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      Premier League table snapshot

      As it stood on 16 Oct 2010 23:59 UK

      Position Team P GD PTS
      1 Chelsea 8 21 19
      2 Arsenal 8 8 14
      3 Man Utd 8 7 14
      4 Man City 7 6 14
      5 Tottenham 8 3 14
      6 West Brom 8 -3 12
      7 Bolton 8 0 11
      8 Aston Villa 8 -3 11
      9 Stoke 8 -2 10
      10 Blackpool 7 -4 10
      11 Fulham 8 0 9
      12 Wigan 8 -9 9
      13 Newcastle 8 0 8
      14 Sunderland 7 0 8
      15 Blackburn 7 -1 8
      16 Birmingham 8 -4 7
      17 Everton 7 -1 6
      18 Liverpool 7 -4 6
      19 Wolves 8 -5 6
      20 West Ham 8 -9 6

      see also
      Saturday football as it happened
      16 Oct 10 |  Football
      Saturday's football photos
      16 Oct 10 |  Premier League


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