Battling Villa slipped to a controversial defeat at Chelsea after Branislav Ivanovic’s second-half winner.
The defender powered a headed in just two minutes after escaping a red card for an elbow on Christian Benteke.
And Villa should have had an injury time penalty when John Terry’s handball in the box went unpunished.
They had recovered from Antonio Luna’s early own goal to hit back through Benteke’s 45 minute strike.
Gabby Agbonlahor and Andi Weimann, twice, went close but Chelsea hung on.
Ciaran Clark replaced Nathan Baker as expected after Baker limped off with an ankle injury against Arsenal.
Joe Bennett returned to the bench with fit-again Yacouba Sylla while Fernando Torres was out of the Chelsea squad as Demba Ba started ahead of ex-Albion loanee Romelu Lukaku.
And it was a mirror image of Villa’s start at Arsenal as they conceded after just six minutes.
Oscar’s ball carved open the visitors’ defence and when Brad Guzan saved Eden Hazard’s shot it struck Luna and bounced in.
Chelsea continued to boss possession but Villa were restricted them to shots from distance with Oscar firing wide three times.
Ciaran Clark was forced off after a clash with Ba left him with a bleeding head and debutant Jores Okore replaced him three minutes before the break.
And Villa shocked Chelsea by levelling in first half stoppage time when Benteke collected Agbonlahor’s cross and fired in off the post.
It rattled Chelsea and for all their possession after the break Villa carved out the best chances on the hour.
Agbonlahor shot over after a fine run by Matt Lowton and then Weimann forced Cech into an excellent save when he latched onto Benteke’s cross.
But Villa then suffered a damaging three minutes when all their hard work was undone.
First Ivanovic tangled with Benteke and elbowed the striker in the throat, but was only booked on 70 minutes.
And two minutes later the defender headed Chelsea ahead when powered in from Frank Lampard’s free kick.
Villa refused to fold though and Weimann almost hauled them level four minutes from time when Cech brilliantly saved his volley following Benteke’s flick.
The visitors kept pressing and should have had a penalty in stoppage time when Fabian Delph’s cross was handled by Terry – but referee Kevin Friend ignored Villa’s pleas.