Despite an impressive performance, Aston Villa return home empty-handed from Stamford Bridge as Chelsea secured a 3-0 win on Saturday evening.
Villa enjoyed good spells in the first half despite Romelu Lukaku giving the hosts the lead, but ultimately they didn’t take their chances and were made to pay.
Lukaku added another after Mateo Kovacic had doubled Chelsea’s lead, and while we continued to push for a goal to get us back into the game, we simply couldn’t find a way through.
Dean Smith rightly insisted after the game that he can take positives away from it such was the level of the performance, but it will be an overriding feeling of disappointment that we couldn’t get anything to show for our efforts as we must now look to bounce back and get back to winning ways as soon as possible.
Positive signs for Villa and Smith
Take the disappointment over the result away, and there is a lot to build on in this performance as we went toe-to-toe with the reigning Champions League winners for the best part of this encounter.
The second goal killed our momentum and effectively the game itself, but for large spells in the first half in particular, we were on top and creating dangerous chances.
Unfortunately we weren’t able to finish those off, and so if we can fine-tune that aspect of our game and find consistency in terms of our pressing and creativity, we’ll be picking up points in no time.
Error-prone Mings costly
It’s something that our captain will no doubt be desperate to cut out of his game as he’s been guilty of making a few every now and again, but this one proved to be costly.
Villa were behind at the time but having enjoyed dangerous spells, we needed to come out in the second half, maintain that level and continue to push Chelsea.
Sadly, that plan went out the window quickly as Mings misjudged his back-pass and Kovacic produced a great finish. He doesn’t need anyone to tell him that we need to cut those lapses out.
McGinn in fine form
One of the major positives so far this season has been John McGinn’s form, as although he was absent for the draw with Brentford, he has been a leading figure for us when involved.
His gritty, all-action style was on show again this weekend as he pressed and harassed the Chelsea midfield into mistakes and really gave us control of the game.
If he can add a consistent end product too when breaking forward in terms of assists and goals, he will take his game to another level.
Ramsey impresses again
Smith in particularly has been high on Jacob Ramsey’s talent and ceiling for some time, but it was all very safe and underwhelming to a degree last season when he was involved.
However, in the three games that he’s featured in so far this season, he has shown a new side to his game where is more confident and mature while wanting to take on more responsibility.
From his pressing and ability to break play up in the opposition’s half to his class in finding pockets of space in between the lines and creating threatening situations for us, there is a lot to be positive about with his displays thus far.
Watkins lacking sharpness
It was great to see Ollie Watkins back on the pitch for this game having been absent for the most part due to injury.
As expected, his ability to press the opposing defenders and act as our first wave of pressure was huge, while he had a number of great chances to score.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t on target this weekend but there was plenty to be positive about as if we continue to provide him with that kind of service, he will undoubtedly score goals this season.