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Nicolas Anelka

Nicolas Anelka

Nicolas Anelka

Nicolas Anelka was denied a dramatic late winner by the woodwork as Aston Villa maintained their impressive home record with a goalless draw against Chelsea.

Anelka could have earned the Blues only a second league win in their last 12 visits to Villa Park.

But his header from Ashley Cole's header bounced up and against the crossbar in the last minute of normal time.

Villa missed a great chance to open the scoring through Stephen Ireland after three minutes. Stewart Downing made a good break down the right flank and his low ball picked out the run of Ireland who took the ball in his stride. The former Manchester City player's cross-shot beat the dive of Petr Cech but flew inches wide of the far post.

Villa were forced into a substitution after 13 minutes when Richard Dunne did not reappear after going down the tunnel for treatment following a challenge by Ramires and he was replaced by youngster Ciaran Clark.

Chelsea started to enjoy a fair slice of possession and John Obi Mikel had the their first on target attempt after 33 minutes although it was comfortably dealt with by Villa keeper Brad Friedel

Branislav Ivanovic came close to breaking the deadlock after 77 minutes when he powered his header against the near post from Florent Malouda's corner.

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But then the woodwork came to Chelsea's rescue when Young's free-kick hit the back of Terry's head and then deflected off Clark onto a post.

Anelka headed against the bar from Cole's cross in the last minute of normal time.

Then, with almost the last kick, Reo-Coker found himself in space but lacked the necessary composure and shot wide, ensuring the match ended goalless.

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