Chelsea fringe men haul Villa further down

Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan flapping the ball into the path of Pedro Rodriguez (right), who shoots into an empty net from a narrow angle for Chelsea's fourth goal.
Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan flapping the ball into the path of Pedro Rodriguez (right), who shoots into an empty net from a narrow angle for Chelsea's fourth goal. PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

Aston Villa 0

Chelsea 4

LONDON • After waiting 63 days to make his Chelsea bow, Pato needed just 22 minutes of action to score as the Blues pushed Aston Villa to the verge of inevitable relegation from the Premier League yesterday.

The Brazilian made an immediate impact after replacing striker Loic Remy in the 23rd minute, getting involved in the move which led to Ruben Loftus-Cheek's 26th-minute opener.

On the verge of half-time, Pato - known as "the Duck" - then broke his duck. The former AC Milan starlet, who has been kicking his heels since joining from Corinthians two months ago, picked himself up after being fouled in the box by Aly Cissokho to convert from the penalty spot.

Villa, managed by interim manager Eric Black after they got rid of Remi Garde in the week, were hopeless after the break as Pedro Rodriguez scored twice for Chelsea.

The home fans' misery, amid sustained protests against owner Randy Lerner, was completed when Alan Hutton was sent off for a second yellow card offence five minutes from time.

It was a seventh successive league defeat for the bottom dwellers. In stark contrast, Chelsea extended their unbeaten run in the top flight to 15 games.

Interim Blues manager Guus Hiddink was without Diego Costa, Eden Hazard, Willian, Gary Cahill and John Terry, but they were not missed at Villa Park.

The Dutchman's experimental line-up also afforded 20-year-old Matt Miazga, signed in January from New York Red Bulls, his debut, while fellow centre-back Jake Clarke-Salter, 18, got 15 minutes in his maiden appearance.

"I like to bring in youngsters, we have the rest of the season. It's important they feel the Premier League demands," said Hiddink after the win kept alive their faint hopes of Europa League qualification.

"If we play as we did today, pressing high and creating chances, then automatically you get results and could play for Europe."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 03, 2016, with the headline 'Chelsea fringe men haul Villa further down'. Print Edition | Subscribe