Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: League Race Will Be Wide Open - Jose; More Teams Are in Frame

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: League Race Will Be Wide Open - Jose; More Teams Are in Frame

Article excerpt

Byline: JOHN CURTIS

Aston Villa 2

Newcastle United 0

JOSE Mourinho is predicting the Premier League title race will be more open this season after seeing Aston Villa end Chelsea's 18-game unbeaten run, writes JOHN CURTIS.

Goals from debutant Zat Knight and Gabriel Agbonlahor earned Villa a 2-0 win which denied Chelsea the chance to go top. It was their first league defeat since losing to Liverpool at Anfield in January.

But Mourinho feels the money spent this summer by Villa and other sides outside of the top four will mean more surprise results in the next nine months.

The Chelsea boss said: "There has been a big input by teams outside of the top four so it will become more normal for the big teams to lose matches and points.

"The other teams have spent lots of money and brought players in to bolster their teams. Villa are one but you can find a lot of other examples.

It will be more difficult to play against these teams because they are better.

"The league is open but it is the first weekend of September and we are only five matches into the seas on."

Chelsea dominated but lacked a cutting edge and paid the penalty when poor defending at a set-piece allowed Knight to score a 47thminute header from Gareth Barry's corner. Mourinho said: "Aston Villa played well, Chelsea played well and a point each would have been a fair result. But Chelsea made a mistake you cannot make. We are very organised in defence at set-pieces.

"But a game that we were in control of after a solid first half changed with that goal early in the second half. After that, Villa were well organised, showed great spirit and had the crowd behind them.

"The second goal means nothing to me in the context of the game.

That can happen sometimes in the last couple of minutes when you are pushing forward. I accept the result but don't think it's fair. Villa did not make the sort of mistake that we made."

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich left the directors' box immediately after Agbonlahor had wrapped up the points in the 88th minute when he converted a cross from Ashley Young. …

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