Villa were lucky that Foy was so bad, but they were good enough to earn points anyways

Chris Brunskill

A few last gifs of the Aston Villa-Chelsea match from Saturday.

Alright, I'm pretty sure that I'm done after this. But I got the full match video and there were a few things that I had wanted to gif earlier but hadn't had the chance to. A couple more instances of Chris Foy and his team being bad at their jobs, and a few moments of hilarity/awesomeness from the match.

For instance, here was the offside call that prevented Fernando Torres from have a one-on-one with Brad Guzan:


And here's the proof that it was yet another mistake made by Chris Foy and his officiating team:


Villa really did get lucky in terms of how the refs called the match. The more of this I watch, the more I'm convinced of that fact.

Here was the Vlaar foul late in the match that certainly could have gotten a red card:


Honestly, I think the red would have been harsh, but given the way that Foy was calling the match it would have been in line with his other fouls. What you don't see in that gif is the context, as taken simply like that, Vlaar is never even going for the ball and is just out for blood. But the full replay seems to make it look as if Vlaar was actually going for the ball but misjudged terribly.


If Schurrle doesn't get his head on the ball, it ends up right where Vlaar's foot is. It's a bad tackle, but not a cynical one. It's a yellow every time, but I still don't think it's a red in a normal match. This one though? Well, given the yellow that Foy gave to Willian minutes before, this probably should have been red.

The ensuing free kick, however, provided two fantastic moments. The first shows just how close Chelsea were to gaining an 0-1 lead off of the foot of Demba Ba. I like to call this gif "So close, yet so Ba":


But the real treat there is watching the Villa wall have a collective heart attack as they realize there is nothing they can do and all of their work will be for naught if Ba connects:


Leandro Bacuna, in particular, amuses me.

I also wanted to give you another look at Fabian Delph's wonder-goal. The more I watch this, the more I am convinced that it may have been the goal of the season for Aston Villa. An absolutely clinical finish that looks almost balletic in style:


Grantland had a really fantastic piece today outlining Delph's "10-second reign as the greatest midfield soccer player in the world" that is absolutely worth a quick read. Here I've taken the best camera angle we have on Delph's flick and slowed it down a huge amount. The blurriness is thanks to the camera work, not the gif process, but despite the low quality, I think you can see just how amazing that finish was:


And finally, here's Ron Vlaar absolutely schooling Eden Hazard in a footrace towards the beginning of the match:


I've never seen Vlaar exhibit that kind of speed before. Is he actually as fast as Gabby Agbonlahor? What's been a really fantastic trend lately is Vlaar becoming a valuable part of the midfield and attack when Villa are pressing forward. What began as simply a gorgeous ball to Christian Benteke for the first goal against Norwich City is continuing as some great confidence in Vlaar's game.

Final analysis of it all? Aston Villa got exceedingly lucky that Chris Foy and Company had an absolutely terrible day of officiating. Nevertheless, Chelsea were well held in check by Villa's defense, and Fabian Delph had one of his best days in a Villa kit. Aston Villa may have gotten lucky to get all three points, but they certainly played well enough to deserve two of them.

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