Chelsea 2 Aston Villa 0

Last updated : 10 June 2009 By Paul Lagan
Chelsea remain top of the Premier League after a comprehensive 2-0 victory over Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge.

The home side dominated from the off and first half strikes from Joe Cole and Nicolas Anelka saw off any resistance from the Midlanders.

Suggestions that Villa were the team to end Chelsea's four-year, 85-game unbeaten home record in the league were dispelled early as the Londoners came out of the block fast and kept a high tempo up for the full 90 minutes.

A sweet attack by Chelsea on five minutes saw Michael Ballack unleash a fierce right-footer from just outside the Villa penalty area. Brad Friedel did well to parry the ball for a corner.

Seconds later Florent Malouda tested Friedel with a low left-foot drive and again the goalkeeper was forced into a low diving save.

Frank Lampard missed a sitter on 18 minutes when a clipped byline pass from Anelka saw the England midfielder head just wide.

But the inevitable happened and on 22 minutes a sweeping interchange play by Ashley Cole, Anelka, Malouda and then Lampard set up the in-running Joe Cole, who lashed home a right foot blaster from 12 yards past a hapless Friedel to put the home side one-up.

Number two was just inches away but Anelka's 25-yard drive ricocheted off Friedel's crossbar to safety.

But two minutes from the break Chelsea did score their second. Lampard tucked the ball to Ashley Cole on the left.

His byline cross was met by Ballack whose right-footed shot rebounded off Friedel to Anelka. The Frenchman's shot from six yards was saved by Friedel, but the ball fell invitingly for the hitman again and he made no mistake this time ramming home.

Villa's only effort on the Chelsea goal came seconds later when John Carew had a left-foot shot on target, but Petr Cech comfortably dealt with the ball.

Villa boss Martin O'Neill rang the changes at half-time, bringing on James Milner for Curtis Davis and Carlos Cuellar for Luke Young. Chelsea replaced Anelka with Franco Di Santo

The Blues were forced in to another substitution when Salomon Kalou came on for an injured Joe Cole on 57 minutes.

Within seconds of the changes Ballack forced Friedel into a wonderful blocked save from another long-range blaster and Kalou was just inches away from tucking home a Lampard curled pass.

Villa should gave scored on 62 minutes when a long ball deceived John Terry allowing Gabriel Agbonlahor to sneak in, but after Cech blocked his shot, the young England forward failed to turn the ball into the Chelsea net.

Sublime interplay by Chelsea saw Villa ripped apart on 65 minutes but Kalou's on-target effort was deflected for a corner.

Chelsea's dominance of the game allowed for the substitution of Malouda for Juliano Belletti on 82 minutes and the Brazilian almost scored with a spectacular overhead kick.

Villa were a shadow of the side that forced a 4-4 draw here on Boxing Day and will do well to break into the top ten rather than the top four on this display.