Once more, a beautiful afternoon on the beautiful pitch of Villa Park served not as a pedestal for the home side to satisfy a stadium full of passionate fans but rather as the venue for that home side to be continually dismantled and embarrassed. Today's guest of honor was Chelsea, similarly embattled this season but grateful to see Villa on their upcoming fixture list.
The onslaught started less than 20 minutes in, but the scoreline remained 0-0 as Pedro was deemed offside after lobbing Brad Guzan. The floodgates opened once and for all in the 26th minute as Ruben Loftus-Cheek's deflected shot left Brad Guzan hopeless. Villa responded well and created decent opportunities shortly thereafter but Jordan Ayew and Carles Gil were unable to beat Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. The second goal came just before halftime as Aly Cissokho tackled Alexandre Pato in the box, after which the Brazilian striker scored from the spot to mark his Chelsea debut. Pedro scored his first of the afternoon just seconds after the restart as he finished off an extremely well worked Chelsea move, then scored once more 15 minutes later after Guzan couldn't control a Pato shot and presented Pedro with an open goal.
Jack Grealish and Leandro Bacuna entered the game to a resounding chorus of boos, but their entrances both invigorated Villa's play - Grealish's cross for Ashley Westwood should have been converted and Villa should have been awarded a penalty after Grealish was tackled recklessly in the box. The only thing this game lacked was a sending off, which we received in the 85th minute as Alan Hutton collected a second yellow car and left the pitch to a resounding ovation from the home fans.
And so went Eric Black's debut as interim manager - in an atmosphere as toxic as we have seen all season, it's no wonder both players and fans left this game irate. Most of them simply aren't good enough or don't care enough. Either way, it's hard to imagine many of them remaining for next season, with all parties better off for it.