Chelsea have beaten Aston Villa 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in their latest Premiership game in a match that saw them benefit as much from their opponents’ mistakes as they did their own upturn in form.
Chelsea’s first opening came after just six minutes when Loftus-Cheek had a shot deflected just wide near the edge of the area. They were just as fortunate to not concede a goal soon after when Hutton, marauding up the right wing for the visitors, went past Baba far too easily and had a shot saved down low by Begovic with his follow up going wide.
Both sides continued to make bright starts but neither side were able to create any clear openings on goal. Aston Villa were not intimidated in the slightest by their surroundings and clearly felt they could end their own poor run of form by compounding Chelsea’s woes.
It was Villa with the clearest chances in the first half hour and Stamford Bridge waited nervously. The fans’ anxiety, however, turned to delight in the 33rd minute when Diego Costa, back from suspension, opened the scoring after some terrible defending from the vistitors. Willian collected a ball from ‘keeper Guzan, meant for Lescott at left-back, and, running in on goal, played the ball square to the Spain international who put it into the empty net.
Chelsea’s second half started brighter than the first and they doubled their lead less than ten minutes after the restart when Alan Hutton finished into his own net. Diego Costa received the ball in the area from deep and had his shot deflected into the goal by the Aston Villa defender.
Chelsea spent the rest of the game largely in control with much improved performances from all the team’s key players. Fabregas rediscovered his passing, it was his ball that found Costa for the second goal, Costa was back to something approaching his ferocious best and no errors came the defence’s way.
It is a crucial win for the Blues and one Jose Mourinho will be mighty relieved to have under his belt. The back four and the comfort with which it defended the teams lead will no doubt be of great satisfaction, as will the supports’ resounding support for him after his outburst and subsequent FA punishment following the 3-1 loss to Southampton two weeks ago.
While there is still room for improvement, it is great to see the players play like a team again, and one that looks as if it will put at least a bit of a fight to retain its Premiership crown. While they are still ten points behind Man City at the top of the table, they have at least stopped the rot.
Begovic, Azpilicueta, Terry, Zouma, Baba; Ramires, Loftus-Cheek (Matic-45), Willian (Remy- 92), Fabregas, Pedro (Hazard-82); Costa
Oscar, Hazard, Mikel, Remy, Matic, Cahill, Blackman
Guzan, Hutton, Richards, Lescott, Richardson, Westwood, Gueye, Gil, Grealish, Ayew, Gestade
Bacuna, Sinclair, Traore, Amavi, Sanchez, Bunn, Crespo