Aston Villa 1 Chelsea 0 - Mat Kendrick's Big Match Verdict

Villa Park was bathed in bright sunshine on Sunday morning.

Partly because of the unseasonably warm weather, but mainly because Villa’s very seasonal knack of beating the Premier League’s elite left the claret and blue faithful basking in the warm afterglow of humbling the leaders.

As if chastening champions-elect Chelsea, getting the ground rocking and banishing their relegation worries wasn’t enjoyable enough for the vibrant Villans, mocking Jose Mourinho, the Portuguese pantomime villain, simply added to the entertainment.

It was a Special One...

It was fun, it was great, great fun.

It was what Villa Park was intended for and guaranteed Villa fans will spend the week with a Fabian Delph-style spring in their step.

Rather than Chelsea going nine points clear at the top, Villa have gone nine points clear of the bottom three, up to 34 points and tenth place with nine games remaining.

In a season when the safety mark could be as low as 37 points, another home victory over Stoke this Sunday could virtually secure their Premier League status and then the progress-based push for mid-table respectability could begin in earnest.

Having achieved their first back-to-back home league wins in 70 matches and ended an unwanted top-flight record in the process, don’t bet against the claret and blues making it three against the Potters next weekend.

We’ll leave the Chelsea controversy until later, as that is when most of it occurred, and instead concentrate on Villa’s best, most complete 90-minute win of a topsy-turvy campaign. Even better than Arsenal and Man City.

Never mind that Chelsea finished with nine players and no manager, Villa deserved this victory, even before their numerical advantage.

Delph ensured they got it – and in some style.

He doesn’t score ordinary goals, this lad, only extraordinary ones. Some players, having strained every sinew, would have lacked the energy or inclination to drive forward in the 82nd minute, or having done that, would then have taken a breather rather than continued their run.

Not Delph. After sweeping the ball out wide left to Marc Albrighton, the Yorkshire terrier burst into the box to reach the substitute’s cutback and, without breaking stride, direct a sublime back-heel finish past Petr Cech.

It was such an impudent, improvised piece of skill that it would have put Chelsea’s Brazilian players to shame, had they not already been putting themselves to shame.

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