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Villa lose to Chelsea, but look wildly improved in doing so

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Let's get the bad news out of the way first. Aston Villa lost to Chelsea 1-2 today in a match that saw goals from Eden Hazard and Branislav Ivanovic. And now for the good news: there was also a goal by Jores Okore and Aston Villa never looked totally dominated by the very comfortable leaders of the league. Yes, you read that right, a Villa goal. The drought ended at 659 minutes thanks to that effort.

And things have been so bad around Villa for so long that I don't want to dwell on the bad too much. Eden Hazard should have been marked by Alan Hutton for his goal, but the goal only happens because Willian makes an absolutely perfect pass between two defenders. And the second goal saw Ivanovic given too much space, but only if you expect him to curve the ball ridiculously (which you don't). He was defended alright, he just took a 1-in-100 shot and converted. That's your bad. I'm done there.

On the good, Chelsea never truly dominated, and in fact were on their heels for much of the second half. Immediately after Villa kicked off in the second, they were attacking Chelsea's box. Carles Gil put in another magnificent performance and moved the ball around with ease. It was his work on the right side that opened up a lane to cross into Jore Okore who merely had to put his head in the right place. The stats will say that Okore ended the drought, but in reality that was a Gil goal through and through.

And then the rest of the second half played out with Chelsea trying to calm the match down. Once they got the go-ahead goal, they began to slow the pace and Villa still kept attacking. It was never out of the question that Paul Lambert's side could equalize, right to the dying second of the match. And had it not been for some absolutely infuriating time wasting by Chelsea, Villa could have actually had a few chances.

This is all a bit jumbled because I'm actually excited about what I saw. Play like this for the rest of the season and Villa won't drop. Aaron wrote in his preview that our goal was to not get embarrassed. Well, Villa didn't. And in fact, they came out looking pretty damn good. I'll take it. Now let's shift to the Hull match, which is quite possibly the most important match in Paul Lambert's entire tenure. Win there and things could be a bit easier. Lose, and it's a terrifying last few months of the season.