Match ends, Aston Villa 1, Chelsea 0.
Aston Villa 1-0 Chelsea
Chelsea's title bid suffered a major blow with a defeat by Aston Villa in which two Blues players and manager Jose Mourinho were sent off.
The league leaders, who had a first-half goal ruled out for handball, were reduced to 10 men when Willian was shown a second yellow card.
And Villa made the extra man count as Fabian Delph finished Marc Albrighton's low cross with a superb back-heel.
Ramires and Mourinho were then both ordered off in a bad-tempered finale.
The Blues' boss was sent to the stands for protesting during the melee that followed a two-footed lunge by Ramires on Karim El Ahmadi.
The defeat means Chelsea's Premier League lead over Manchester City is now six points. City, who had beaten Hull 2-0 earlier in the day despite captain Vincent Kompany's early red card, have three games in hand.
Mourinho has repeatedly played down his team's title chances and, on this evidence, he may be justified after a lacklustre performance that raised serious questions about their ability to stay on top of the pile.
The Blues created few chances in either half, with striker Fernando Torres anonymous up front and Brazilians Oscar and Willian lacking spark.
Villa, meanwhile, were good value for a victory which moved them up to 10th in the table, and could have won by a greater margin had Delph's late effort not deflected off Gary Cahill and onto the crossbar.
Chelsea reprised their habit of starting slowly, failing to score in the first half for their fourth successive Premier League game.
A soporific opening period only came alive in the closing stages when Villa striker Christian Benteke flashed a low volley from outside the box narrowly past a post, before Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic was denied what would have been his first goal for the Blues.
The Serbian was unmarked at the far post as John Terry flicked on Willian's corner, but the ball bobbled off his thigh and onto his arm before he bundled it past Brad Guzan.
Chelsea began the second period on the offensive and were almost rewarded when Eden Hazard's cut-back deflected towards goal off El Ahmadi, requiring Guzan to claw clear.
With chances few and far between, Chelsea were looking to their more creative players to unlock the door but, when Oscar found space in the area, he could only side-foot tamely at Guzan.
Villa remained a threat on the break and almost took the lead through Benteke. After exchanging passes with Andreas Weimann, however, the Belgium international stroked his effort inches wide.
Midway through the half, Chelsea were reduced to 10 men when Willian - who had earlier been booked for upending El Ahmadi - was shown a second yellow card for tripping Delph as he scampered towards goal.
Then, with eight minutes remaining, Villa made their numerical advantage tell as the ball was swept across the pitch to substitute Albrighton, whose low cut-back was back-heeled outrageously into the far corner by Delph.
Deep into stoppage-time, Chelsea's frustrations boiled over as Ramires jumped into an ugly challenge with El Ahmadi and was immediately shown a red card by Chris Foy.
Mourinho was then sent to the stands as he tried to enter the field to talk to Foy, compounding a miserable evening for the Blues.
Visit the BBC Sport Facebook page for a gallery of the best pictures from Saturday's Premier League matches
- 3BennettBooked at 45minsSubstituted forClarkat 78'minutes
- 4VlaarBooked at 77mins
- 2BakerBooked at 5mins
- 8El Ahmadi
- 20BentekeBooked at 67mins
- 11AgbonlahorSubstituted forAlbrightonat 75'minutes
- 22WillianBooked at 68mins
- 7Santos do NascimentoBooked at 90mins
- 9TorresSubstituted forBaat 67'minutes
- 11OscarSubstituted forSchürrleat 67'minutes
- 17E Hazard
- Chris Foy
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Aston Villa 1, Chelsea 0.
Ramires (Chelsea) is shown the red card for a bad foul.
Foul by Ramires (Chelsea).
Karim El Ahmadi (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Gary Cahill.
Attempt saved. Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ashley Westwood.
Foul by Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea).
Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Ramires (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card.
Attempt saved. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Fabian Delph.
Goal! Aston Villa 1, Chelsea 0. Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Marc Albrighton with a cross.
Attempt missed. Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Ashley Westwood with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Gary Cahill.
Foul by Nemanja Matic (Chelsea).
Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt missed. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left from a direct free kick.
Substitution, Aston Villa. Ciaran Clark replaces Joe Bennett.
Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
André Schürrle (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa).
Attempt missed. Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Ashley Westwood.
Offside, Chelsea. Ramires tries a through ball, but André Schürrle is caught offside.
Substitution, Aston Villa. Marc Albrighton replaces Gabriel Agbonlahor.
Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by César Azpilicueta.
Attempt blocked. Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ashley Westwood.
Attempt blocked. Demba Ba (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by André Schürrle.
Offside, Aston Villa. Ashley Westwood tries a through ball, but Nathan Baker is caught offside.
Second yellow card to Willian (Chelsea) for a bad foul.
Foul by Willian (Chelsea).
Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Ramires (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Christian Benteke (Aston Villa).
Substitution, Chelsea. Demba Ba replaces Fernando Torres.
Substitution, Chelsea. André Schürrle replaces Oscar.
Attempt missed. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Andreas Weimann.
Attempt blocked. Fernando Torres (Chelsea) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Willian.
Fernando Torres (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Karim El Ahmadi (Aston Villa).