Sports

EPL: In-form El Ghazi earns Aston Villa draw at Chelsea

…as ‘Apoplectic’ half-time team talk sparks Palace in draw with Leicester

Anwar El Ghazi scored his fifth goal in as many games as Aston Villa came from behind to earn a point against Chelsea in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge.
Villa were trailing to an Olivier Giroud header when El Ghazi headed a second-half equaliser to enable Villa to stretch their unbeaten run to five games.
The visitors started brightly but found themselves behind when Giroud marked his return to the Chelsea starting line-up with a trademark finish from Ben Chilwell’s cross, reports the BBC.
Parity was restored five minutes after the interval, though, when the unmarked El Ghazi converted Matty Cash’s inviting delivery at the back post.
Both sides had chances to steal victory, with Villa coming closest when John McGinn smashed a fierce long-range effort off the crossbar.
The result lifts Villa to fifth in the table, a point outside the top four, while Chelsea move sixth.
Meanwhile, Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson said it took an “apoplectic” half-time team talk from assistant boss Ray Lewington to spark them into life in Monday’s draw with Leicester.
Coming after a 7-0 thrashing by Liverpool and a 3-0 loss to 10-man Aston Villa, Palace were second best throughout the first 45 minutes and only got to half-time goalless after Vicente Guaita saved Kelechi Iheanachi’s 19th-minute penalty.
“We were dumbfounded that we were as passive as we were,” Hodgson told Match of the Day.
“We were not at all happy with our first half. They were more aggressive than us and we were being pressured into mistakes.”
The hosts were much more combative after half-time, however, and took the lead when Wilfried Zaha finished superbly from Andros Townsend’s cross, only for Harvey Barnes’ second goal in as many games to rescue a point for the Foxes.
“It almost cost [Lewington] a heart attack to produce that energy,” Hodgson said in a separate interview with Amazon Prime. “That is what Crystal Palace want to be and we pressurised the ball so much better.
“We looked dangerous going forward but unfortunately we did not get the full three points because Barnes scored with a wonderful strike.”
Leicester, who made seven alterations to the team that drew with Manchester United on Saturday, registered 17 attempts but failed to test Guaita from open play until Barnes’ late goal.
The visitors’ only other effort on target was from Ayoze Perez, whose first-half free-kick was easily held by the Spanish goalkeeper.
The point lifts the visitors up to second in the Premier League table, while Palace move eight points clear of the bottom three.
RESULTS
Crystal Palace 1 – 1 Leicester City
Chelsea 1 – 1 Aston Villa

 

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