Aston Villa weren't able to secure safety or a win in the season's Villa Park finale. Nevertheless, there were a couple of Villa highlights and two goals that - while they made us all sad - were historical. Let's get right to the gifs.
In the early going, the match was a back-and-forth affair. Chelsea seemed to be in control, but it would've been foolish to think they had the upper hand. Villa, as they are wont to do, were not breaking in the back and mounting some vicious counters that left the London club on their heels. It didn't take too long before one of those counters paid off, and Christian Benteke scored what will be his final EPL goal of the season, his 18th
It was another typical Benteke effort. He created his own opportunity with a combination of pace, strength, and a deft finishing touch. Here's another angle of the 14th-minute strike:
Sadly, that would be Benteke's lone highlight in a day that saw him be an absolute idiot. Shortly into the second half, the Belgian got himself his second yellow of the day for an absolutely senseless tackle. Second later, Frank Lampard tied the Chelsea club record for goals by scoring his 202nd:
It was a lovely shot, and there really wasn't much anyone could do about it. The same could be said for Lampard's 203rd for his club, just a touch over 20 minutes later:
That's some fantastic passing that went exactly where it needed to. To be fair, the Villa defense shouldn't have let things get that far, but what can we do? Congrats to Lampard on an auspicious record. I only wish it had come next week.
But, I don't want to leave us with a bad taste in our mouths. Stiliyan Petrov was in attendance today after having announced that he will be retiring from football. The 19th-minute applause that has become tradition was especially moving this week with Stan in the house. Here is an absurdly long gif that may take a bit to load (apologies) that captures the reaction around Villa Park, and may put a tear in your eye with a cameo by Stan himself:
Best of luck, Stan. Get better soon, and thank you for everything you've done for Villa.