Chelsea secured vital 3 points on their return to football after it was paused due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The 2-1 win at Aston Villa is the first away win for the Blues in 2020.
Frank Lampard, in his 100th game as manager, had an almost fully fit squad to choose from including the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek & Christian Pulisic. Loftus-Cheek started and played his first game in over a year.
Chelsea started the game brightly. Loftus-Cheek and Mount were effective on the left flank while Willian was menacing on the right. They dominated in possession and chances but couldn’t convert any. It came to bite them back as Villa took the lead from a set-piece just before half time. Kortney Hause scored after Kepa parried the initial effort. Chelsea have been caught defensively multiple times this season and there’s a lot of work to be done in that area if they are to challenge for the title again. Antonio Rudiger was solid except for one loose ball but Andreas Christensen looked out of shape.
Chelsea came knocking once again in the second half but still couldn’t finish their chances until Lampard introduced super-sub Christian Pulisic along with Ross Barkley. Pulisic made his first appearance since picking up an injury on New Year’s Day against Brighton but created an instant impact as he tapped in a wonderful cross from captain Cesar Azpilicueta for the equaliser.
He was vital in creating the second goal as well but it was the Chelsea captain who once again grabbed the assist by setting up Olivier Giroud who scored after a delightful turn. His shot took a slight deflection but nevertheless it was a well-worked goal. Two quickfire goals put the hosts on the backfoot as Chelsea dominated possession and controlled the game from there.
Aston Villa did have a late chance to grab a point but Jota’s shot was just wide of Kepa’s far post as Chelsea escaped a scare. It was a good finish to an entertaining game. Chelsea increase the gap between them and 5th place Manchester United to 5 points and also closed in on Leicester with a chance to finish third. The Blues host Manchester City next and will hope to be defensively solid to get a good result.