Aston Villa manager Unai Emery masterminded another victory away from home with a composed display against Chelsea to increase pressure on Blues boss Graham Potter.
Ollie Watkins opened the scoring from a Marc Cucurella blunder at Stamford Bridge, latching on to the Chelsea defender’s backwards header to lob home, before John McGinn’s second-half rocket put the game out of reach for the home side.
It was a familiar tale for Chelsea, who squandered chance after chance as Villa exploited their weakness on the counter-attack.
It is the Villans fifth win on the road since Emery took over in October and means they have now picked up 16 points away from home, a tally equalled only by Manchester City in that time.
All 10 of Chelsea’s victories this season have come against bottom-half opposition but this loss means they drop into 11th themselves while Villa move up to ninth, one point off Liverpool in eighth.
Villa continue brilliant run
Aston Villa’s record of 26 points in 14 games under Emery is bettered only by the Premier League’s top three – Arsenal and the two Manchester clubs.
Based on this performance, it is easy to see why.
Villa were happy to sit back and allow Chelsea to dominate in the attack, creating little themselves but benefiting from the home side’s poor finishing.
McGinn had hammered a powerful strike off the bar moments before Watkins’ opener but fired a 25-yard shot into the net in the 56th minute while Watkins’ goal was his fifth in as many consecutive away matches.
Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, making his 100th Aston Villa appearance, made a superb save with his feet to deny Joao Felix in the latter stages – as Emery’s genius engineered an important away win.
Emery outlined his side’s European ambitions after their 3-0 win over Bournemouth last time out – and with this victory, Villa’s hopes of qualification are growing.