Aston Villa 1-2 Chelsea: Quickfire second-half Blues double sinks hosts – 5 talking points

Chelsea came from behind for just the second time this season to secure all three points at Villa Park.

Frank Lampard watched on as his side conceded first despite dominating the first-half.

Kortney Hause put Aston Villa in front from close range which again exposed the Blues’ defensive frailties.

But two goals in the space of two second-half minutes turned the game on its head as Christian Pulisic and Olivier Giroud both struck.

The three points tightens Chelsea’s grip on fourth place after Manchester United and Sheffield United both dropped points.

Villa meanwhile remain in the bottom three having spurned the chance to climb up to 16th.

Here’s five talking points from Sunday’s clash in the Midlands.



Olivier Giroud smashed Chelsea in front

Giroud presses first choice case

There may have been over 100 days between Chelsea’s last two games, but Giroud’s goal means he’s scored in three of the club’s last four league games.

The Frenchman looked set for the exit door a couple of months ago but has since renewed his contract and looks a vital part of Lampard’s plans.

His strike just after the hour proved to be the winner.

Jamie Redknapp admitted he was surprised to see the veteran striker selected ahead of Tammy Abraham.

But his experienced head may just be what Lampard needs and dropping him for the Blues next game looks a tough ask.



Frank Lampard watched a frustrating first-half

Chelsea need cutting edge

All’s well that ends well, but the Blues bench must’ve had deja vu when they went behind.

Lampard’s young side have certainly learned how to dominate possession and be easy on the eye.

But they’ve not yet mastered the art of turning that dominance into goals which they again proved in the first-half.

The possession stats made for alarming reading if you were a Villa fan, but with the visitors lacking a clinical edge the home side were able to ride out the storm and score first.

Chelsea rallied and were worthy winners, but it is an issue that needs addressing if they are to once again win silverware.

Lampard still toying with his back four

It is fair to say keeping goals out, not scoring them, has proved to be Chelsea’s biggest problem this term.

That in part is down to the lack of continuity at the heart of the defence.

At Villa Park Lampard opted to partner Dane Andreas Christensen with Antonio Rudiger.

Kurt Zouma, who has started more games than any Blues centre-half, found himself on the bench while Fikayo Timori wasn’t available for selection.

Christensen’s slow reaction played its part in Villa taking the lead.



Jack Grealish is often a menace for opponents

Grealish sets foul record

Grealish was, yet again, scythed down in the opening minutes.

The Villa playmaker has been at the heart of everything good about Villa this term and, given how often he travels with the ball, is often fouled.

But that has happened so often that the 24-year-old set the record for being the most fouled player in a Premier League season since records began.

Throughout the 90 minutes he was fouled eight times – the highest total in England’s top flight for over three years

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Opportunities taken and missed

The race for Europe and the battle to avoid the drop both have a host of twist and turns to take.

But Sunday’s result helped Chelsea’s cause while denting Villa’s.

The Blues will have been keen to hammer home their advantage after seeing United, Tottenham and Sheffield United all drop points in the past 48 hours.

Dean Smith meanwhile watched on as Bournemouth and West Ham were beaten, but they failed to seize the initative.

Still, there’s plenty of time to go.

source.



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