Thank you for following VAVEL UK's live coverage of Aston Villa vs. Chelsea. Stay tuned for the review of the game, which will be up shortly!
This seventh defeat in a row is all but curtains for Aston Villa. The Midlands club face AFC Bournemouth next weekend, a meeting which very well could mean the end for them. If they drop more points next week, they will not be able to catch back up to safety.
Chelsea have soundly thrashed Villa this afternoon follwoing goals from Loftus-Cheek and Pato and a brace from Pedro. The three points they've gained may not see them immediately move up in the table but are certainly part of their slow climb back up the table.
FT: Aston Villa 0-4 Chelsea
90' +3 Villa have a corner conceded by Miazga. Nothing come sof it, and that's the game!
90' +1 Three minutes of stoppage time added. An assured three points for Chelsea, and nearly assured relegation for Aston Villa.
88' Ayew's cross falls to Grealish, whose volley flies wide. A bit of pressure for Chelsea, but dealt with.
83' Jordan Lyden comes on for Idrissa Gana Gueye as Villa's final substitution.
82' Aston Villa seemed to have won a corner, but the referee calls for a goalkick. Apparently, the touch from Miazga came after the ball had crossed the line.
79' The kick is sent straight to Guzan. Aston Villa look to move forward.
78' Hutton is carded for a foul on Pato. Free kick awarded to Chelsea in a dangerous area.
74' Jake Clarke-Salter comes on for Pedro to make his Chelsea debut. That's three debuts in one match. "Experimental" indeed. No hat-trick for the Spaniard, however.
73' Lots of boos from Villa fans for Bacuna since he has come on. The fans are simply fed up with the seemingly apathetic players, the lack of effort, the wounded pride, and the poor results.
72' Grealish goes down in the box, but no call. Westwood fires another shot off, but it goes wide.
68' Aston Villa have a corner, but it's punched away. Ashlely Westwood plays a dangerous ball across the goal, but no one is able to finish it.
66' Jack Grealish and Leandro Bacuna come on for Gil and Sanchez, respectively. Boos resound from the home fans as the players walk off.
61' Swarbrick brandishes a yellow at Sanchez for grabbing Loftus-Cheek.
59' GOAL! Oscar feeds it to Pato, who lines up a shot which is deflected by Guzan directly in the path of Pedro, who takes a shot on the first touch from an extermely difficult angle and smashes it into the net! 0-4 Chelsea!
49' Neil Swarbrick admonishes Ayew for having his hand in a player's face. Moments later, he has an attempt from distance which Courtois easily collects.
48' Oscar has another go, but Guzan frantically saves. It seems that there are more goals left in this game.
46' GOAL! Oscar has already made his impact, setting up Pedro, who makes it three-nil!
46' Second half is underway! One change: Oscar has come on for Kenedy.
Aston Villa have won only 19 of their last 85 home matches. Difficult to see that becoming 20 today.
If you haven't already, read VAVEL UK's pre-match analysis to determine whether or not our predictions came true.
Despite sparse periods of possession for the hosts, Chelsea have seemed the more dominant side throughout the match, well deserving of their lead. It seems unlikely, in fact nearly impossible for Villa to be able to muster the will and the skill to come back from two goals behind now.
Pato's penalty is his first goal for Chelsea coming within his first 20 minutes of play for them. Guzan read the shot correctly and came close, but he was unable to stop the goal.
This has been a fine showing from the Chelsea youngsters in the first half with goals from Loftus-Cheek and Pato, a promising 45 minutes from Miazga, and a fair showing all around.
HT: Aston Villa 0-2 Chelsea
45' +3 GOAL! Pato nets the ball from the spot to give the Blues a two goal lead for the half!
45' +2 Chelsea are awarded a free kick after Pato goes down in the box due to a challenge from Aly Cissokho!
45' Loftus-Cheek nearly makes it two-nil as Carlos Sanchez gives the ball away in a poor attempt to find his teammate.
43' Carles Gil goes down after contact from Baba. The midfielder is holding his face, and Baba seemed to have caught his face slightly with his hand. Boos resounding from the Villa fans toward the Chelsea defender as Gil walks off the pitch.
41' Kenedy goes sprawling during a run, but no call. A bit of dramatics from the winger, to be fair. It seems there was contact however by Hutton.
38' A free kick in Chelsea's attacking third sees Miazga receive the ball and attempt to send a cross in to Ivanovic, but ultimately nothing comes from it.
37' A bit of danger inside Aston Villa's box as Fabregas links up with Baba, but Brad Guzan does well to block and the danger is cleared.
35' The ball is diverted out by Miazga, who has been fair so far in his debut. It's too early to venture a comprehensive opinion on Pato as he has not been involved much in the few minutes he's been in.
33' Fabregas is booked for a slide tackle on Ayew outside the box. Aston Villa have another chance from a dangerous position.
31' Baba attempts to clear the ball directly in front of goal straight into the feet of Ayew, who has a shot, which flies right into Courtois' hands. A nervous moment there for the Blues, a hopeful one for the home side.
26' GOAL! Loftus-Cheek received the ball from Cesar Azpilicueta in a pocket of space in the box and kncoked it directly in the net. 1-0.
26' Pato makes his first touch for Chelsea.
23' Loic Remy walks off with an apparent injury, and Pato jogs on. This is not necessarily how he planned to receive his debut, but fans will be excited to see what he can do for the club nonetheless.
22' Jordan Ayew rips a shot off from under pressure near the edge of the box, but it soars far wide. The resulting corner comes to nothing.
19' Villa have a bit of possession now, knocking the ball around. Loftus-Cheek intercepts and is knocked off the ball. Chelsea have a free kick, and Pedro is set up, takes the shot, and puts the ball in the back of the net--only to be called offside. Only a minor setback however, it seems.
13' Courtois easily catches the corner. No danger yet.
13' Azpilicueta heads Villa's cross out of play to concede their first corner.
10' Pedro rips a shot off at the top of the box, and it just scuffs the top right corner as it flies over.
9' Loftus-Cheek runs the ball down to the far right corner of the box but cannot outmuscle his two defenders and gains a corner.
9' Fabregas, whose hand has found its way up in the air, knocks the ball down with his fist, and Villa have a free kick in a dangerous area. Richards gets a head on it, but Courtois snaps it up.
7' Fabregas sets Baba up on the left for a one-two but the Ghanian defender's cross launches behind the goal.
5' Aston Villa finally manage to knock the ball out of the rhythm Chelsea had built after knocking the ball around for a couple of minutes, attempting to find a way through Villa's defence.
3' Free kick for Chelsea after a challenge from Alan Hutton.
2' Fabregas takes Chelsea's corner. It is battered back away from danger.
1' Not a bad first touch from Miazga. Aston Willa venture into Chelsea's defensive third, but Chelsea are able to divert.
1' We are underway at Villa Park!
Teams are leaving the tunnels now! Ivanovic leads the Blues onto the pitch in Terry's stead.
Ten minutes to kickoff! The teams are warming up on the pitch. What are your predictions? Share them in the comments below!
An interesting stat to know: in his 20 games in charge of Aston Villa, Garde led Villa to win twice, giving him a win ratio of 10% (L12).
True to his word, Hiddink has experimented a bit in his lineup, starting Matt Miazga in his back four and benching both Terry and Gary Cahill. The young American has yet to make his Premier League debut for the Blues. In addition, Ruben Loftus-Cheek is starting in a central attacking position, Ivanovic is playing centrally in defence to allow Abdul Baba Rahman to act as fullback, and Kenedy was handed a start. However, still no Pato.
We're twenty minutes from kickoff in Villa Park! Stay tuned for minute-by-minute updates throughout the match.
No Pato in the starting lineup today. Match fitness has been the concern, and he apparently was not fit enough to start today. It will be interesting to see if and when Hiddink subs him in.
Chelsea subs: Begovic, Oscar, Falcao, Pato, Traore, Matic, Clarke-Salter.
Aston Villa subs: Bunn, Okore, Bacuna, Sinclair, Grealish, Veretout, Lyden.
Chelsea starting XI: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Miazga, Baba; Mikel, Fabregas; Pedro, Loftus-Cheek, Kenedy; Remy.
Aston Villa starting XI: Guzan; Hutton, Richards, Lescott, Cissokho; Sanchez, Westwood, Gana; Gil, Gestede, Ayew.
"That's been dealt with, that's been dealt with properly. I want to focus purely on what's going to happen in the next 90 minutes. I brought Carlos Sachez back in.... I'm pretty confident he'll be okay."
More from Black: "I think the responsibility lies with the players and myself. It's not totally my responsibility. This is a difficult period for Aston Villa. I think we have to get some respect back from our supporters and that's what we'll do."
Stand-in manager Black responding well under pressure before the match. "I've done it before, and football goes on, so we continue and try to prepare for today."
Top-flight football next season seems lost for Aston Villa, who are set to be relegated for the first time since 1987. With 12 points to safety and no manager, clawing their way out of the bottom three seems an impossible task.
Chelsea have won seven of their last 10 meetings with Aston Villa; Villa have won two and drawn the Blues once.
Match facts: In their last five meetings, Chelsea have scored three times as many goals as Aston Villa and have won all but once. Aston Villa's last victory against Chelsea was in 2014 with Fabian Delph being the only goalscorer.
Chelsea team news: Diego Costa is banned for the meeting with Aston Villa. The striker has also incurred an extra suspension and a fine after admitting to a charge of improper conduct relating to his dismissal against Everton last month and will therefore not feature in next week's match with Swansea. Hazard, Radamel Falcao, and Kurt Zouma are still recovering from injury, and Willian, Oscar, and Bertrand Traore have only just returned from international duty, and Hiddink has left the possibility of the latter three starting up in the air. Saturday's fixture may be the opportune chance for Pato to feature for the Blues.
Aston Villa team news: Libor Kozak and Jordan Amavi are out due to ankle and knee injuries, respectively, while Adama Traore and Jack Grealish could possibly return on Saturday.
Gabriel Abgonlahor will not be included in the Aston Villa squad so he doesn't "distract the players," per the caretaker manager, but defender Micah Richards will. Abgonlahor has appeared only 15 times for Villa this season and has scored once. The striker is in hot water for being photographed with a pipe while on vacation in Dubai, and an investigation is currently being carried out in regards to his behaviour.
While Thibaut Courtois has expressed uncertainty over his future at Chelsea, Hiddink is assured that he will remain with the club next season. The Dutchman has not read the Belgian goalkeeper's comments but says that "it's difficult to react on what has been said or has been translated or mis-translated."
Hiddink also suggests that he could see a managerial future for John Terry, whose contract has not been renewed, but not a return to the English squad. There is likely truth in both statements.
In his pre-match presser, interim manager Hiddink suggested that Alexandre Pato might be involved in Saturday's fixture, calling the remaining games an opportunity for "experimentation." The 26-year-old has yet to debut for the Blues since joining them in January on loan.
For more information on the upcoming match, check out VAVEL UK's match preview.
While every three points matters, a win for either side would not be immediately significant as Aston Villa are 12 points away from safety, and Chelsea are three points off of ninth place and 10 points off of fourth. While the Blues have less ground to cover to get to where they want in the table, it will be more difficult for them to climb their way through the top half full of teams that have been in form all season. That being said, because relegation seems so inevitable for Villa whether they win or lose, this game is more significant for Chelsea.
The last time these two sides met also took place at Villa Park, and Chelsea won 1-2 with goals from Eden Hazard and Branislav Ivanovic.
The Blues' form has improved immensely from the first half of the season. In the past six games, the London club have won four and drawn two.
Chelsea ended their last match as a 2-2 draw against West Ham United thanks to a late goal by Cesc Fabregas, who seems to have found some of his old form. The draw extends Chelsea's unbeaten streak in the Premier League under Guus Hiddink.
Meanwhile, the visitors have not had a spectacular season either, occasionally dropping so low in the table as to barely avoid the bottom three. Chelsea currently sit tenth in the table, but with any Champions League football next year out of the picture, any progress made in the table would simply be for the sake of their wounded pride.
Villa's last match ended in a 1-0 loss to Swansea City, adding yet another defeat to their six-match streak. Black will be hard-pressed to lead his discouraged side to a victory on Saturday.
The venue for today is Villa Park, with a capacity of about 43,000, at which Chelsea have a decent away record.
Hosts Aston Villa currently sit at the bottom of the Premier League table and fall ever farther from chances of climbing out of danger. The Villans will face Chelsea under the management of first team coach Eric Black following the recent departure of former manager Remi Garde.
Hello and welcome to VAVEL UK's live coverage of Aston Villa vs. Chelsea. My name is Sarah Anne, and I'll be providing you with updates throughout the game. Kick-off is at Villa Park at 12:45 BST, so stay tuned for team news before the match.