Romelu Lukaku to the rescue as Blues enjoy Boxing Day leftovers
Romelu Lukaku and Jorginho were on target for Chelsea, as they came from behind to triumph 3-1 over European-chasing Aston Villa, ending a run of back-to-back Boxing Day defeats for the ‘Blues’.
Without the reassurance of COVID-stricken Steven Gerrard on the sidelines, Aston Villa took the game to Chelsea early on and were rewarded with the opening goal in bizarre fashion. Glancing a header beyond teammate Edouard Mendy, Reece James continued his recent strong form in front of goal, albeit this time converting into his own net – a disappointing start for the visitors, who have now registered just one clean sheet in their past four away matches.
Perhaps unlucky to have fallen behind in such strange circumstances, Chelsea pushed for an immediate response and eventually found an equaliser from 12 yards. Clumsy defending from Matty Cash led to Callum Hudson-Odoi being brought down inside the box, where Jorginho strode up to calmly slot home the leveller. Despite dominating possession, Thomas Tuchel’s side were unable to find any further breakthroughs, ensuring parity for the pair at the break.
With eight goals to his name against Aston Villa prior to kick-off, the introduction of Lukaku spelt bad news for the hosts, and it would be their familiar foe who netted Chelsea’s second of the evening. Evading his marker to flick home a well-timed header, Lukaku’s ninth goal in 10 matches against the ‘Villans’ handed the away side a deserved lead.
Such an advantage ought to have been doubled midway through the half, when Mason Mount escaped the challenge of goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez, only to fire wide of an empty net. Offering little going forward, a patched-up Chelsea backline thwarted the few Aston Villa attacks with ease, before securing the points with a third goal from the spot in added time. Lukaku broke in behind the hosts’ defence, where Ezri Konsa barged down the Belgian international, with Jorginho stroking home to end a run of three matches without a win.