Chelsea defend home soil by powering past Villa at the Bridge.
With the international break coming to a close just 72 hours prior, Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea returned to action against Aston Villa in Saturday’s evening kick-off.
Despite entering the fixture without Argentinian pair MartÍnez and BuendÍa – who were absent due to quarantining – Dean Smith’s side fancied their chances against the Blues having taken four points from them last season.
(credit | Chelsea Football Club)
However, Chelsea ended proceedings strongly before the break. The Blues took seven points from their opening three games – which included fixtures against both Liverpool and Arsenal.
Heading into the game, Thomas Tuchel’s team sheet was a reflection of Chelsea’s situation from the past two weeks with six of the ten startinf outfield players having stayed at Cobham during the international break.
There was also a debut on the cards for loanee Saúl, who was one of six changes to the side that earned a point at Anfield last time out.
Their opponents were more than wary of the threat that the Blues posed, with Smith adapting his side to a five-man defence in order to mirror the Chelsea shape.
Despite the initial threat posed from Chelsea, it was in fact the Villans who started the better side. The visitors looked as if they had adjusted well to their new shape and looked positive from the opening whistle.
On the 8th minute, the hosts came close in bizarre circumstances as a corner kick almost found its way through to the back of the net. However, a crucial touch from Ezri Konsa was vital in guiding the ball onto the crossbar.
Inside the opening 15 minutes, the game seemed relatively open with both sides looking dangerous within their attacks. However, this spell only lasted until the 15th minute when Chelsea’s new signing implemented his paw prints on the game.
A perfectly weighted pass from Mateo Kovačić found the run of Lukaku, who then did brilliantly to convert his first ever career goal at Stamford Bridge.
The Belgian’s opener then went on to invite further pressure from Villa, who called goalkeeper Édouard Mendy into action on numerous occasions as he denied attempts from Ollie Watkins, Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa.
There were later attempts from either side, with Hakim Ziyech and Jacob Ramsey looking to add their names to the scoresheet. However, despite Aston Villa’s high energy first half – the Blues went into the break with a 1-0 lead.
After struggling in the first half, new signing Saúl was replaced by Jorginho in a solo change for the Blues. The introduction of the Italian allowed for Mateo Kovačić to press higher – which led to the Croatian joining Lukaku in also scoring his first ever goal at Stamford Bridge.
The midfielder was in the right place at the right time to latch onto a stray back-pass from Tyrone Mings, with Kovačić then finishing past Jed Steer with a superb first-time conversion.
Suddenly, Villa were now 2-0 down against a team that seems almost immune to conceding goals. The visitors now suddenly seemed deflated and looked a shadow of the team that started the game.
As the game rolled on further, there was notable attempts from Kai Havertz, Mateo Kovačić, Bertrand Traoré, Marcos Alonso and Ollie Watkins. Both sides looked for the third goal of the match, which would ultimately make or break the game as it entered the dying stages.
Although Villa then began to knock on the Chelsea door, they were refused entry and punished further as Romelu Lukaku put the icing on the cake at Stamford Bridge with his second goal of the evening.
The victory marked Chelsea’s 600th Premier League win, making them just the second club to reach the milestone.
After the whistle:
Despite starting the game so positively, Aston Villa were ultimately made to pay for their missed chances by a clinical Chelsea team that earned yet another impressive victory under Thomas Tuchel.
The Blues – who won the game 3-0 – often looked far from their best at times against the Villans. However, despite the chances conceded, Chelsea’s defence aided a motivated Édouard Mendy to earn a third clean sheet in four games.
There were positives and negatives for both sides in the game, which both Chelsea and Aston Villa will look to build on in their next fixtures. Next up for Tuchel’s side is Russian club Zenit in the Champions League on Tuesday night, whilst Smith’s Aston Villa will host Everton next Saturday in the Premier League.
Chelsea 3-0 Aston Villa.
- Lukaku (15’, 90+3’).
- Kovačić (49’).
BBC Sports player of the match:
Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea).
Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Mendy; Chalobah, Silva, Rûdiger; Hudson-Odoi (82’), Kovačić, Saúl (45’), Alonso ©; Ziyech, Havertz (64’); Lukaku.
- Subs: Jorginho (45’), Azpilicueta (64’), Werner (82’).
Aston Villa (5-3-2): Steer; Cash, Konsa, Tuanzebe, Mings ©, Targett; Ramsey (56’), Luiz (79’), McGinn; Ings (69’), Watkins.
- Subs: Bailey (56’), Traoré (69’), Nakamba (79’).
Chelsea (57%) vs Aston Villa (43%).
Chelsea (12) vs Aston Villa (18).
Shots on target:
Chelsea (4) vs Aston Villa (6).
Chelsea (4) vs Aston Villa (11).
Chelsea (11) vs Aston Villa (11).
- (credit | BBC Sport).
- (credit | Chelsea Football Club).
Written by Ryan Bellenie (@BellenieSport).