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Aston Villa 2 Chelsea 1

Aston Villa consigned Chelsea to their second defeat of the season with a 2-1 win in a pulsating game at Villa Park yesterday. The victory was built upon an outstanding performance by Villa's back four and their goalkeeper Brad Friedel.

Martin O'Neill bought defenders Stephen Warnock, Richard Dunne and James Collins on deadline day as he looked to rebuild the Villa defence following Martin Laursen's retirement at the end of last season and all three were superb throughout.

However, it was an uncharacteristic mistake from Friedel which allowed Chelsea to take the lead. The veteran keeper misjudged Didier Drogba's long range effort which bounced just in front of him and into the back of the net to give the Blues the lead on 15 minutes.

While Fabio Capello was in the crowd to assess the performance of a number of England hopefuls it was a Welshman and Irishman, Collins and Dunne respectively, who were the best players on the pitch on the day. Dunne got Villa back on level terms eight minutes before the break from a corner following some slack Chelsea marking.

Collins made it 2-1 early in the second half when the visitors were again punished from a dead ball situation. The Wales international was left completely unmarked in the six-yard box and powered home a header passed the hapless Petr Cech.

Chelsea pushed for an equalizer and went extremely close through efforts from Florent Malouda and Nicolas Anelka but Friedel atoned for his mistake early in the game to ensure an important win for Martin O'Neill's team.


Aston Villa v Chelsea

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