CHELSEA suffered another unfortunate defeat as Ollie Watkins scored the only goal in Aston Villa’s 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge.
The game was in limbo for up to an hour when, following a VAR check, Malo Gusto received a red card for a high tackle and the Blues went down to ten men.
Chelsea huffed and puffed and fended off a few good saves from Emi Martinez, but once again it was poor finishing and a lack of penetration that hurt Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
A rare mistake from Thiago Silva led to England hitman Watkins scoring his first Premier League goal of the season on the counter-attack, giving Villa all three points.
The defeat means the Blues slip further down the table and fail to score for the third time in their first six games.
Here’s how SunSport’s Tom Sheen rated the Chelsea players on Sunday afternoon…
Robert Sanchez – 8/10
Probably the home team’s best player on the day, which says a lot about where the current Chelsea team are at.
He made two incredible saves in the first half, stopping perfect volleys from Lucas Digne and Nicola Zainola, and was confident in his other duties too. Couldn’t do anything about Ollie Watkins’ goal and saved again late on to make it 1-0.
Malo Gusto – 4
Did a good performance in the first half, getting forward at every opportunity and giving the Blues good width. Should have had an assist, but Enzo Fernandez was able to hit back a good cut.
Unfortunately, after about an hour, Lucas Digne was sent off for a rash tackle following a VAR check by referee Jarred Gillett.
Axel Disasi – 5
Defended robustly when needed and proved he was physically dangerous with a disallowed goal.
However, he still hasn’t convinced himself that he has the highest quality in possession – this was perfectly demonstrated when he charged towards goal and sent a shot horribly wide, and then later with a couple of wayward crosses.
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Thiago Silva – 4
His uncharacteristic error led to Watkins’ winner, with the Brazilian legend miscontrolling the ball in the middle of the pitch after a Chelsea attack failed.
The Villa counterattack was merciless and proved decisive.
Levi Colwill – 5
It’s hard to ignore the fact that he’s a center back who plays on the left side of defense. Although modern full-backs in top teams are good on the ball and are good defenders, they need to attack.
Colwill rarely interferes, often letting Mudryk do the one-on-one duel rather than overloading him.
Conor Gallagher – 5
Wearing the captain’s armband is obviously important for Gallagher as he started the game like a runaway train and continued in that vein, covering huge distances.
However, as the game went on – and especially after Chelsea needed more when there were only 10 men left – he lacked the quality to really make any attacks or provide crucial touches.
Moises Caicedo – 5
He dictated things in the first half and everything good that came out of Chelsea flowed through the midfielder.
As the game progressed he became tired and his influence waned before he was eliminated ten minutes before the end of the game.
Enzo Fernandez – 3
Maybe the blame lies with the position change or the unfamiliarity with new teammates and a new system.
But whatever the added context, the basic argument is that £105m should produce more and have a much greater impact on the game. Wasted arguably Chelsea’s best chance when he parried away a Gusto shot with his left foot and the ball went to the throw.
Raheem Sterling – 5
Huffed and puffed but couldn’t knock down the Aston Villa door. Dribbled too much a few times and chose the wrong option a few times.
Overall, he still looked like Chelsea’s most likely goal threat, but that’s an extremely low bar considering how difficult the Blues have been in front of goal in 2023.
Mykhailo Mudryk – 7
Had an extremely promising first half and was dangerous in some one-on-one situations, looking something like the player Chelsea thought they were buying. Created a brilliant through ball from Nicolas Jackson to put the striker on target, then beat Matty Cash to fire a cross into the box – with no one on the end.
It was unfortunate that Gusto’s red card meant he was retired as a player as it was one of his better appearances.
Nicolas Jackson – 3
It looks completely lacking, he dribbles too much, waits too long for a pass and is constantly caught offside.
Made a fantastic run to block Mudryk’s through ball, but his first shot attempt was well parried. He also received ANOTHER yellow card after blocking Martinez’s kick-out and was withdrawn shortly afterwards. He is now suspended for one game.
Ben Chilwell (for Mudryk – 60) – 4
Had Chelsea’s best chance to equalize and simply had to do better – sent on goal just moments after Villa had taken the lead, but despite being old enough to find his spot, shot tamely at Emi Martínez.
Another player who seems to have completely lost his confidence.
Lesley Ugochukwu (for Jackson, 68) – 5
Came into the game and provided a huge burst of legs and energy in the middle of midfield, especially as the Blues were outnumbered.
However, it’s another player who has to be questioned as to whether he has the elite quality for a team that supposedly has top-four ambitions. He’s had the ball a few times and doesn’t seem to have the vision to make incisive passes.
Cole Palmer (for Fernandez, 68) – 4
It’s difficult to make an impact in this type of game, facing a one-goal deficit with only 10 players, but you have to do better.
Played it safe too often when in possession and grabbed the only clear view of goal by firing a weak shot at goal that was blocked by a defender.
Armando Broja (for Caicedo, 79) – 4
After coming on as a substitute and playing his first game in almost eleven months following a serious injury, he earned high praise from the home fans.
Don’t hold your breath that the scoring woes are over just yet, Chelsea fans – Broja had a single goal despite being offside, sending a free header horribly wide.
Subs are not used: Lucas Bergstrom, Djordje Petrovic, Marc Cucurella, Ian Maatsen, Deivid Washington.