Fabian Delph’s late strike beats Chelsea
Pensioners boss Jose Mourinho sees red as the visitors finish the match with nine players
Jose Mourinho protests to referee Chris Foy during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Chelsea at Villa Park. Photograph: Chris Brunskill/Getty Images
Aston Villa 1 Chelsea 0
Delph struck eight minutes from time to give Villa a morale-boosting 1-0 win. The result means Chelsea surrendered the initiative to Manchester City in the title race.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men, who beat Hull in the lunchtime kick-off, are six points behind Chelsea, but the fact that they have three matches in hand makes them favourites — as Mourinho has been suggesting all along.
The match was a largely dull affair until Willian was shown a second yellow card for a push on Delph. Mourinho reacted angrily towards fourth official Jon Moss, but his mood darkened moments later when Delph clipped a clever backheel beyond Petr Cech.
But as is always the case with Mourinho, more drama was to come. In injury time the Portuguese raced on to the pitch to confront referee Chris Foy following his decision to show Ramires a straight red for a tackle on Marc Albrighton.
Foy did not like what he saw and he sent Mourinho off. Further censure from the English FA may follow, and all in all this was a trip to the Midlands that the ex-Real Madrid man will want to forget quickly.
Tempers threatened to boil over — just like they did in the reverse fixture — early on when Nathan Baker clattered into Fernando Torres and received a booking in the fourth minute.
Willian received a yellow soon after for an equally poor challenge on Karim El Ahmadi. Nothing else of note took place in the first half an hour as a dull match looked on the cards.
Gary Cahill and John Terry prevented Christian Benteke from getting into the game while Fernando Torres could not find any space at the other end.
The only time the Spaniard did find room in the box, he ploughed a shot into the Holte end and the Villa fans responded with taunts .
Instead it was Benteke who created the only real chance of the first half when he turned and smacked a low volley an inch wide of Peter Cech’s goal.
Nemanja Matic thought he had given Chelsea the lead just before the break, but Foy correctly chalked off the midfielder’s tap-in as he handled the ball before shooting.
Those Villa fans who had not escaped early for a half-time pie held their breath in injury time as Joe Bennett took masked man Ramires as he raced through, but Foy flashed a yellow card when Mourinho, gesticulating angrily on the touchline, clearly wanted a red.