Chelsea 1-1 Aston Villa. (Giroud 34’; El Ghazi 50’)
By Ryan Moran
Sub-edited by George Overhill
Anwar El Ghazi cancelled out Olivier Giroud’s first-half header to stretch Aston Villa’s unbeaten run to five games and leave both within a point of fourth.
El Ghazi tapped the ball through Edouard Mendy’s legs from Matty Cash’s deep cross, where the winger was unmarked. Giroud headed Chelsea into a deserved lead from Ben Chilwell’s cross to the front post, the first time Villa had conceded in five games.
The Blues made six changes from the defeat at Arsenal. Giroud started instead of Tammy Abraham and for the first time in the league rested Timo Werner and started Callum Hudson-Odoi. The German played through the centre for the last 20 minutes.
Cesar Azpilicueta volleyed home after Christian Pulisic had hit the bar but the American was offside when the cross came in from a short corner.
John McGinn struck the bar from distance in the next attack as Villa sprung to life in the second half.
Jacob Ramsey’s fierce effort just wide of the far post had Mendy scrambling ten minutes before the end, and Chilwell volleyed agonisingly wide of the far post in the second minute of added time.
Pulisic should have added his name to the scoresheet on one if not two occasions in the first half. He latched onto a loose back-pass from Jack Grealish but rifled his shot wide of the front post before putting the ball over from less than five yards.
To read George Overhill’s live blog of the match click here.