On this day: Magnificent Villa floor might of Chelsea
Chelsea joined Porto, Juventus and Liverpool on the claret and blue scrapheap as Villa's colossal connection headed Villa to a tremendous victory.
Referee Steve Bennett was taken ill before the game - delaying kick-off by five minutes - but it was the visitors who were left to feel sick as a dog as goals from Richard Dunne and James Collins won the early afternoon clash.
Yet Villa were smarting early on when stand-in official Kevin Friend waved away penalty protestations.
Gabby Agbonlahor was ready to pull the trigger in the box after racing clear when Jose Bosingwa appeared to drag him to the floor.
But friend turned foe when the official ignored the claret and blue pleas and saved the right-back from red card hell.
Chelsea were in front soon after and it was far from a classic.
Didier Drogba, the central man on virtually every away attack, tried his luck from 30 yards out and the ball unfortunately bobbled over Brad Friedel and into the net.
Martin O'Neill's mood was not helped when an off-balance Nicolas Anelka clattered into him on the touchline - flooring him.
Thankfully, Villa didn't need a replacement boss for the rest of the game and the manager's marshalling of his troops paid dividends in the end.
Richard Dunne pounced at the back post when Ashley Young's left-wing corner was headed into the giant defender's path by Frank Lampard.
Amazingly that was really the midfield star's only contribution - and the claret and blues were happy with that.
All-even at the break - it was there for both teams to win in the second half and Villa took their chance.
James Collins, man of the match after his sterling defensive display, powered home the winner from close-range after another pinpoint Young corner.
There was plenty of effort from Chelsea at the death to restore parity but Villa defended like lions to hold out for the precious three points.
Martin O'Neill was thrilled to see his courageous side come from behind to see off the might of Chelsea.
Didier Drogba opened the scoring for the visitors but headed goals from Richard Dunne and James Collins won the day.
And O'Neill couldn't contain his delight.
He said: "I am absolutely delighted. I thought we played brilliantly in the first half and obviously had to defend strongly in the second half.
"Chelsea came at us after the break but we saw it through in the end. They had a 15 minute period - it was tough for us. But my overall view is that we were splendid.
"Naturally I am absolutely thrilled. We have beaten in my own view - even though it is early on - one of the real title-challengers. I think anyone who finishes in front of Chelsea will win the Premier League."
Mail on Sunday: Martin O'Neill frowned and grimaced and insisted that it was just one victory and that he wasn't about to draw any dramatic conclusions. But still he could not quite conceal the glow of satisfaction. As for Carlo Ancelotti, he did not even try to hide his feelings. Sucking a sombre cigarette before boarding the team bus, his eloquent face answered all the important questions.
News of the World: John Terry left the pitch in a prolonged fit of pique, shaking the hands only of people who got in his way. It's certain he would have meant no disrespect to Villa. Their work ethic was a wonder. James Milner's effort was typified by a wonderfully-timed late block as Florent Malouda cocked his left foot, while Gabby Agbonlahor pulled, pushed, shoved and stretched the Premier League's most experienced defensive unit. Stiliyan Petrov revelled in the unaccustomed situation of being allowed to operate unchecked by a Chelsea midfield that looked so unusually awkward, Steve Sidwell was as unfussy as he is unheralded.
Sunday Express: Martin O'Neill went flying on his backside courtesy of Nicolas Anelka but it was Chelsea who were the real fall guys at Villa Park. Sunday Star: There was simply no stopping Aston Villa's most inspirational figure. Not even a body-crunching, first-half blow from Nicolas Anelka, totally accidentally, in the dugout could keep this man down. No chance. Martin O'Neill, of course, is made of stronger stuff and - setting a perfect example to his players - the Villa manager was soon back up on his feet, berating the referee as only he can.
Sunday Mercury: Villa are never better than when their tails are up and, just like a woman scorned, were soon fighting back after Chelsea's goal, with James Milner and John Carew causing problems time and again for a defence packed with world-class players. Eventually all the probing and the pressure from the home side, willed on by the 12th man in the stands, paid off with Villa levelling with a fine strike from who else but Richard Dunne. In the 52nd minute, with Villa still running the show, James Collins made sure they had something to show for all their effort as he won a free header at the far post to slam the ball home. Petr Cech was unable to recover as Collins slammed home with his head before jubilant scenes in front of the home fans.
1910: Bob Iverson was born. He joined Villa in 1936 and went on to become a regular in the side. He remained on Villa's books until 1947 when he retired to become coach of the reserve side.
1925: Len Capewell scored for Villa in the 3-3 draw at home to Birmingham City, having hit the target in each of the previous seven league matches for the club.
1931: Dai Astley made his debut for the club in the 3-0 win over Portsmouth at Fratton Park.
1987: Villa became the first club to score 6,000 league goals, a feat achieved in the 1-1 draw with Bournemouth at Villa Park. The historic goal was scored by Mark Walters.
Make sure you're here to back the boys against Norwich City.
Adobe Flash Plug-in Needed
This website requires a Adobe Flash plug-in. Please download the latest version of the Flash plug-in by clicking here