Game #4685

Season | 2000-01 |

Matchday | #25 |
League Game | #20 |
Premier League Match-week | #21 |
Manager Game | #135 |

Monday, 1 January 2001

Premier League | Away | Chelsea | Stamford Bridge | 33,159 | 

Game Summary

Manager | John Gregory | 

KO | 15.00 |
Referee | Paul Durkin | 

HT Score | 0-1 |
FT Score | 0-1 |

FT Result | Lost |

Last 5 Games | DDWLL | 

League Position | 11th | -2 |

Line Up |

GK David James | 
LB Steve Staunton | 
SUB OFF | 82' |
FB Mark Delaney | 
LB Alan Wright | 
CB Gareth Southgate | 
M Paul Merson | 
M George Boateng | 
M Steve Stone | 
M Ian Taylor |
BOOKED | 86' |
F Gilles De Bilde | FINAL |
CF Dion Dublin | SUB OFF | 76' |

Substitutes |

F Darius Vassell for CF Dion Dublin | 76’ | 

M John McGrath DEBUT | for LB Steve Staunton | 82’ |

Unused Substitutes |

FB Jlloyd Samuel
M Michael Standing 
GK Peter Enckelman

Cards | 

 Yellow | Ian Taylor | 86’ |

Team Stats |

Starting XI Average Age | 29.83 | 

Oldest Player | M Paul Merson | 32.81 |

Youngest Player | FB Mark Delaney | 24.65 |

 On this day  1 January 2001 

Irish international left back Steve Staunton appeared for Villa for the first time since rejoining from Liverpool on a free transfer. 
Forward Gilles De Bilde made his final appearance for Villa before returning to Sheffield Wednesday after his 3 month loan ended. De Bilde made 4 appearances for Villa.

Midfielder John McGrath made his Villa debut aged 20 after signing professional forms with the club in August 1999. McGrath had joined Villa from Belvedere FC.

Match Report

The Guardian 

Tuesday, 1 January, 2001

Match Report from John Brodkin

James calamity spurs Chelsea

The Football Association must be tempted to investigate whether David James is on the payroll at Stamford Bridge. In May the Aston Villa goalkeeper dropped a free-kick to hand Chelsea the FA Cup. Yesterday his embarrassing blunder gave Claudio Ranieri’s side three points.

The expression on the 30-year-old’s face as he handed his gloves to a Villa supporter at the end told the story. In striking a clearance at Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink just before half-time he had offered the Dutch striker an open goal and decided the match in favour of a fitful Chelsea.

Neither James’s otherwise impressive performance nor a late foray forward for a corner could undo the damage. A fine early save from Gus Poyet will soon be forgotten and his talent seems certain forever to be undermined by these flashes of incompetence. No doubt the England keeper will be making as grovelling an apology to his manager John Gregory as Gregory did to Doug Ellis last week. 


“I have to confess I was on my way down to the dressing room for the half-time chat so I haven’t seen it,” Gregory said, “but I gather it was pretty horrific.” He knows the impact this will have on a man who has been gradually shaking off the “Calamity James” tag he earned during his time at Anfield. 

James must hope Sven-Goran Eriksson does not get a copy of the video and he will take little comfort from learning that Poyet, Chelsea’s captain in place of the dropped Dennis Wise, described the mistake as “the difference” between the teams. 
Ranieri’s side just about deserved to win, having created the better chances and struck the bar, but they gave a far from convincing performance and were becoming increasingly frustrated by Villa’s defensive approach at the time the goal arrived. 

When Chelsea moved the ball at pace with one or two touches, as they did at the start of both halves, they looked impressive. Yet too often they failed to find that fluency. After Hasselbaink had hit the woodwork early in the second half they created almost nothing. 

It was their good fortune that the long spells of possession Villa enjoyed after the interval produced little end product. Gilles de Bilde, playing the last game of his three-month loan from Sheffield Wednesday, should have equalised and Gregory will hope Juan Pablo Angel gets clearance to make his debut soon. The Colombian will play in a fortnight at the earliest, Gregory says. 

It will help Chelsea in their desire to get back into Europe if they can start to replicate their success at home on their travels. It is seven wins and a draw at Stamford Bridge since Ranieri took over and still not a victory has been gained away. After the collapse from 2-0 up at Ipswich, the Italian at least showed his ruthlessness. 

Dropped to the bench were not only Wise but Gianfranco Zola and the goalkeeper Ed de Goey. In a glimpse of the future, Chelsea paraded their young Danish signing Jesper Gronkjaer before kick-off and fielded six outfield players aged 24 or under, half of them English. 

One of those, Jon Harley, was involved in much of Chelsea’s good early work as they created four chances inside 20 minutes. James was forced off his line to clear as Hasselbaink bore down on goal and then made his fine stop when Poyet headed a Harley cross goalwards. 

But all that was to be undermined as half-time loomed. Booting a Steve Staunton back pass upfield seemed simple enough but James struck the ball straight at Hasselbaink’s feet and the striker, despite mishitting his shot, squeezed a looping effort just over the line before Gareth Southgate could clear. For James, memories of the dropped free-kick that allowed Roberto di Matteo that Wembley winner may have flooded back. 

After Hasselbaink’s thunderous shot had struck the bar, with Sam Dalla Bona volleying the rebound over, Villa threatened with new adventure. But De Bilde allowed Carlo Cudicini to save at his near post when Mario Melchiot underhit a backpass and James was left to contemplate a very unhappy new year.