Thanks for your emails today and all year. I'll be back next week. Bye.
Full time: It was Barry Davies who immortalised the phrase: "It's almost cruel." This was another example, poor old Villa by the end not knowing what day it was.
90 min+3: And still Chelsea keep piling forward.
The attack seemingly broke down on the left but a deflection opened up a chance for Ramires to firmly clip the ball high into the net, Guzan looking a wee bit slow to react.
Shot from the edge of the box.
89 min: It was the Brazilian who was fouled so he was allowed to take it but he hit about four feet off the ground and five feet inside Guzan's left post and the keeper dived across and beat it away with his forearms.
Taken by Piazon and saved by Guzan.
88 min: Villa are still game, Bannan intercepting Hazard's cross and snapping the ball forward but Benteke had again gone too soon
85 min: Piazon has a fine touch on him, cushioning the ball and then able to lay it off with all parts of his right foot.
It's a massacre and Hazard has deserved something to show for his trickery down the left, fizzing another 1-2 to create the angle to blast it across Guzan with his left foot.
Powerful left-foot shot.
82 min: I said at the beginning the average goals over the past six meetings of these two here were five a game sure that I was Jonah-ing today's match. And yet they've gone one better, so far. Chelsea currently are toying with Villa, keeping possession and penetrating down the flanks seemingly at will.
Herd is penalised for putting his arm across Oscar's back and clinging on. Looked soft to me. Oscar took the opportunity he'd created to score his first league goal for Chelsea, shooting high into Guzan's right corner .
Taken by Oscar. And scored.
Let's try a goal description this way. Piazon's first three touches were to knock the ball ahead of him in a dribble, marauding diagonally from halfway on the left towards the centre of the field outside the box, where he slipped it across to Ramires, curling it with the front of his foot. Ramires poked his shot hard and between Guzan's legs.
Sharp shot, better assist.
Lucas Piazon on for his league debut, Juan Mata off.
71 min: Hazard. What a piece of skill down the left after a fine pass from Oscar. The Belgian turned Herd to his left, spun the ball back between his own legs to leave Herd on the floor then hit a cross with the outside of his right foot. Eden, I think, trumps even the great Mickey Hazard for tekkers. (I have to add I have no idea what tekkers means. But a bet's a bet.)
68 min: "Re: Goal descriptions," writes Ryan Dunne. "Surely one solution, since the MBM gig is mostly cuttin' n pastin' anyway, would be to have a list of all the possible ways a goal can be scored ("header from five years" " tap in" "jammy deflection beats the flailing keeper") etc, and just paste in the most applicable one?" Macros are the answer. Oscar would have needed "searing crossfield shot"just then but dragged it wide. Great run from the Brazilian to cut down the inside right hole.
Torres off, Oscar on. "The fact that Torres just tried that behind the standing foot cross trick and didn't fall over, but almost pulled it off as an assist, is proof that Rafa is to Torres what Paul Bearer was to the undertaker," writes Prateek Chadha,
65 min: Villa seem happy enough to risk conceding more by trying to get something back
62 min: Villa are wide open down the left and the home side have osverloaded them down the flanks all afternoon. As Niall Mullen aptly points out: "Villa's style of play invites the opposition onto them. You can let Liverpool have 29 attempts and 72% possession without them hurting you. Chelsea will spank you (and are)."
Frank Lampard off, Ramires on. Refresh for goal descriptions blah, blah, aagh.
Guzan had just saved a point-blank shot from Moses on the right of the box, got up and 30 seconds later was picking the ball out of his net as the ball was played into the centre-left where Lampard smashed a swerving shot into Guzan's right-hand corner.
Stephen Ireland on for Eric Lichaj. "With respect to Rob Stewart's comments about being in Malaysia and watching a stream, is that some form of Buddhist meditation instead of watching Villa? Being a Crewe Alex fan, how is Westwood doing?" Fine, before today. Can't get enough time to play today and is getting overwhelmed by Luiz, Lampard and Mata.
56 min: Benteke shoots after cutting across the field from the left but his only option was to try to curl it around Luiz , who blocks it out for a corner, from which Hazard breaks like lightning but a heavy touch bogs him down. The ball comes out to Torres on the left who tries to cross by wrapping his right foot outside his left but hits the defender.
54 min: Lampard meets the corner at the edge of the box by the far post and he swivels to half volley his shot just wide. Villa attack from the goal-kick, Benteke just robbed of a chance with his head by Cahill's keen anticipation.
52 min: Duracell Holman's tenacity almost creates an opening for Villa up the right but even his chasing can't neuter Chelsea's superior class, Cole stretching just to beat him to the ball and getting it up to Torres whose shot is blocked out for a corner. They're still a brilliant counter-attacking side, Chelsea.
50 min: Excellent save from Guzan after Torres and Moses linked up well, the centre-forward turning back and laying the ball off to the right wing. Moses clipped a cross towards the centre of goal, 12 yards out and Mata met it with a firm left-foot shot but Guzan dived to the right and pushed it over the bar.
48 min: Cahill wins the ball in the air off Benteke after Lichaj had made ground up the left. He plays it to David Luiz but Villa win it back and try to get it up to Benteke more directly but the Belgian had again wandered offside.
46 min: Mata slips the ball down the inside left channel to Torres, Clark blocking his shot after the Spaniard stumbled. There seems to be too much space in the gaps between wing-backs and centre-backs today for Villa.
This is like Chinese whispers, me passing on what I've heard on Sky. Any road, if you're not watching the Isleworth lot, we have been informed by Raimondo Butch Wilkins that David Luiz's free-kick gets up and down so rapidly because he makes then places it in a divot to get top-spin, a trick devised by Didier Drogba.
Here's Rob Stewart (making it Robs 3-2 Ryan): "I am a Villa fan, based in Norway, but currently watching a stream in Malaysia.... I hate Chelski with a passion, it comes from jealousy that Abramovic has three of the 10 largest yachts in the world … talk about being in the right place at the right time … something which we Villa fans are not accustomed to at all." You'll always have 1981 and 1982, Rob.
Half time: That was an emphatic performance from Chelsea who left Villa back-pedalling and unable to hold on to the ball long enough to play calmly. First goal was a tremendous cross and a steel-necked steepling header, second a magnificent free-kick and the third the result of Ivanovic's uncannily brilliant positioning in the opposition box and his amazingly dexterous ability to finish. Back in 10 minutes.
45 min: Better now from Baker who controls it on his chest and chips a lovely pass up to Weimann but Luiz punishes the Austrian's slight hesitation by whipping it off him.
43 min: Cech rushes out to claim the ball from Bannan's attempted through pass and it's about the fifth time Villa have been forced to try a hopeful pass at the end of a spell of possession so tightly are Chelsea squeezing the space.
41 min: Villa free-kick, by the left touchline, 25 yards from goal. Bannan's cross is cleared miles upfield where Mata for a moment thinks he might beat Guzan to it but the keeper races out and sweeps up.
38 min: Bannan brings the ball forward, plays it to Weimann who can't keep hold of it. "Hi Rob, in spite of the new format for MBMs, the techies managed to replicate the bug from the old one. i.e. goal descriptions do no appear until mbm is manually refreshed. It's been years putting up with this silly bug. Please annoy them until they get it fixed. Coal for xmas for them." I will, Nigel. And for the rest of you wanting goal descriptions, you'll have to refresh.
35 min: Another Chelsea free-kick, this one from 30 yards. Mata pulls rank though David Luiz looks keen but he can't get the power and his tame shot is deflected behind for a corner which Lampard strolls over to take and is welcomed by sustained applause. On the subject of which, Rob Hogg writes: "The Chelsea applause for a man losing his job whilst getting large payoff does sit quite badly when compared against support for a man diagnosed with cancer (and other examples of players being honoured in such a way, like Gary Speed). Will the Chelsea support also hold a minute's silence for anyone they feel Rafa has unjustly substituted?" Surely the protest pro Di Matteo should be made to the owner, not the manager who replaced him. If it's anti-Benítez then it should be booing, no?
This is turning into a rout. Corner comes in Villa's attempt at clearing it fails and David Luiz turns it back in. His shot is blocked and deflected up to Ivanovic who nods it past Guzman
Direct from a free kick. Herd conceded the free-kick about 22 yards out to the left of the D. Only David Luiz lined up to take it and he swerved it up and over the wall and past Guzan with wonderful Cristiano Ronaldoesque technique.
26 min: Slick passing move from Chelsea shifts the ball from Hazard and Cole on the left, pulling Bannan over on the cover, to the right to Lampard, Moses and Mata. whose shot again ricochets back off Clark.
24 min: Torres doesn't claim for a penalty when Baker's arm around his neck prevents him from challenging to head Ashley Cole's cross. The replay suggests he was impeded. "I do like how you put Gary Neville's comments in quotation marks, like he's emailing the MBM! (well, Mike Atherton's shown up on OBOs before)," writes Ryan Dunne. "I suspect that stereotypical romantically-bereft MBMers (er,not the present author, plainly) would like it if you could do something similar with e.g. Natalie Portman or Scarlett Johansson! (go on, it's Christmas) Perhaps, after showing up the Ethihad and still being in the UK, Tom Cruise is following the MBM? That would be cool. (Tom - if you're reading this, I though you were da bomb in Magnolia, and Vanilla Sky's one of my favourite movies!)" Da Bomb!? Calm yourself, man.
21 min: Lampard taps it to David Luiz 30 yards from goal after good work again from Azpilicueta in drawing Lichaj out, the Brazilian's left-foot shot smacks into Westwood, though and cannons away.
19 min: Luiz looks like a bona fide midfielder to my eye, very good on the ball he's just beaten Holman and set up Moses to cross. The nineteenth minute marks a minute's applause for Stan Petrov from the Villa fans.
17 min: Waiting for the Di Matteo applause customary after 16 minutes. More muted than in the past but it's there all the same. "I'm bored of this now," says Gary Neville. "They've just got to get on with it now." Westwood, who earlier had overhit a pass when Lowton was free on the overlap, tidily shuttles the ball across field but Villa are forced to retreat, Clark blocking Mata's shot from Luiz's fine pass.
14 min: Corner won by Moses, taken by Mata and cleared comfortably upfield through Weimann and Benteke but they lose possession and it comes back at the Villa defence who strangle the attack again. Better positionally there by the three centre-backs.
12 min: Villa have a problem picking up Torres. Gary Neville reckons the three central defenders defer responsibility to each other when faced with a lone striker but surely one of them has been told to follow him when he withdraws behind Mata to make those bent runs?
10 min: Villa corner taken by Barry, missed by everyone and out for a throw.
9 min: Benteke just drifts offside, cutting in from the left to meet a through ball which gives Chelsea a free-kick. They move it up to Moses wide on the right. Lichaj doesn't get there quick enough giving Moses time and two touches to cross, which goes to the far post, just beyond a freeish Torres.
7 min: Villa can't hang on to possession at the moment, they're harried everywhere by Luiz, Lampard and the back four pushing up.
5 min: That was the second time a move began with Azpilicueta, a minute before the goal he'd shifted the ball very quickly to Ashley Cole rampaging up the left via Lampard in the middle. They are certainly getting it forward as pacily and as often as they can, almost playing in Torres for a lunge shot as he tried to connect with a chipped pass over his head knocked up to the penalty spot.
Wonderful cross from Azpilicueta barnstorming up the right. Perfect pace, driven diagonally towards the near post and Torres leapt and met it flush on his forehead to smash his header past Guzan. Excellent goal … eben if Torres was unmarked.
1 min: Villa break their huddle and Chelsea kick off, Mata bouncing up and down on the centre-spot before playing the ball back to Ivanovic who launches it, Herd holding Torres and giving away a free kick 25 yards out and central. Lampard smacks his free-kick straight at the wall, knee/thigh high
Bids Ryan Dunne: "I'm hoping that the Guardian sportsdesk is currently airing grievances around the aluminum pole? I suspect poor Rafa will be in no mood for said airing of grievances, as Chelsea fans haven't exactly been waiting till December to do so. Let's hope, it being the season of goodwill and all, that his continued Feats of Strength (getting Torres to score, Luiz to play intelligently) will be rewarded with three points! (I don't support Chelsea, but they do play in blue with a wee lion on the badge …"
Have had to snip that GGR reference, Ryan. They all email in and tell me not to indulge you. Stop crying and fight your father
Chelsea: Cech; Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Cole; Luiz,
Lampard; Moses, Mata, Hazard; Torres.
Subs: Turnbull, Ramires, Oscar, Ferreira, Marin, Piazon, Ake.
Aston Villa: Guzan; Herd, Clark, Baker; Lowton, Bannan,
Westwood, Lichaj; Weimann, Holman; Benteke.
Subs: Given, Ireland, El Ahmadi, Albrighton, Delph, Bowery, Bennett.
Referee: Phil Dowd
David Luiz in midfield and Frank Lampard plays his 500th Premier League game. You can tell it's Christmas. The montage on the 2007 4-4 has just been played to the Snowman theme.
The flash is saying that Frank Lampard starts, Victor Moses preferred to Oscar who is on the bench with Ramires. Villa are unchanged with Stephen Ireland fit enough to take a place among the substitutes.
Afternoon all: The last six meetings at Stamford Bridge between these two have ended 1-3, 3-3, 7-1, 2-1, 2-0, 4-4 – that's an average of more than five goals a game. Should we expect a cracker this afternoon, then? I think we should. Chelsea's performance on Wednesday night against Leeds was admirable for its testicular fortitude and zip. OK outclassing a Championship side is nothing much to brag about but there was something heartening for the Chelsea fan in the way they did it, that sense of team responsibility (that particular quality beloved of Steve Claridge). As for Villa – the most likely Capital One Cup final opponents for each other – only two defeats in nine, and those two inflicted by Manchester City and Manchester United. That victory at Anfield was superb and the style of it a testament to their youth - their confidence requiring the boost of proof that they could indeed do it and then flourishing once they had convinced themselves of it.