Chelsea's slide continues with loss to Aston Villa
LONDON (AP) — Aston Villa ramped up the pressure on Mauricio Pochettino by beating 10-man Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Sunday.
Chelsea now has three losses and just one win under Pochettino in the league and went a man down in the 58th minute when Malo Gusto was shown a straight red card for a reckless tackle.
Villa took full advantage as Ollie Watkins scored the winner in the 73rd with a second effort after his initial shot was blocked.
Chelsea had been the dominant team until the sending off but once again were inefficient in the final third.
Villa nearly took the lead in spectacular fashion against the run of play in the 20th when a corner was only partially cleared, and the ball dropped out of the air to the waiting Lucas Digne who whacked an audacious looping volley from 35 yards that Robert Sanchez tipped over the bar.
Chelsea has not scored in the league since August but played through Villa with a confidence that belied their modest goal return of five under Pochettino.
Mykhailo Mudryk tucked a superb ball in behind the defence for Nicolas Jackson to run on to, but the stiker's shot was turned behind by Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez.
Raheem Sterling also drew a good save from Martinez early in the second half, but Gusto's red card changed the tide. Gusto’s challenge on Digne was late and caught the Villa defender on the ankle. He was initially shown a yellow card, but a pitchside VAR review saw it upgraded to a red as boos rained down on the referee from home fans.
Chelsea kept pushing forward despite being a man down, which proved costly when Villa won the ball back high in the Chelsea half. One ball released Moussa Diaby who quickly fed Watkins.
Levi Colwill slid in to block Watkins’ initial shot, but the Villa striker reacted quickest to seize on the rebound and lash his second effort past Sanchez from an angle and in off the far post. ___
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