Chelsea manager Frank Lampard praised striker Tammy Abraham’s growing influence as the Blues rediscovered their winning touch against Aston Villa.
Abraham reinforced his importance to Lampard’s side, scoring the opener and setting up the second on his return from injury in Chelsea’s 2-1 Premier League victory at Stamford Bridge.
The 22-year-old England international missed the Blues’ home defeat by West Ham with a hip injury and put them ahead against Villa with a firm header from Reece James’ cross.
After Villa equalised against the run of play when Trezeguet bundled in, Chelsea regained the lead shortly after the restart when Abraham neatly chested Willian’s cross into the path of Mason Mount who thumped home a volley.
“Tammy is a personality that’s growing in our dressing room every day with his enthusiasm and his will to win,” said Lampard.
“He is a striker that’s near the top of the goalscoring charts in the league, he’s showing his all-round game, stretches defences and he starts our press.
“And of course if a player’s on such a good run it’s normal that if they go out of the team that you can miss them, and he came straight back in as he left off.”
Chelsea, like they did in the first half before Trezeguet’s leveller, dominated possession and territory as they looked to increase their advantage.
Abraham twice came close to adding a third against the club he helped fire to promotion last season, while Willian – one of Chelsea’s other star performers – hit the post with an exquisite free-kick.
The Blues ended a run of back-to-back defeats with a victory which helps them consolidate fourth place, moving them six points clear of nearest rivals Wolves, while narrowing the gap on third-placed Manchester City to three points.
Villa, who have won just once on the road this season, remain in 15th place, a point above the relegation zone after Southampton’s win.
Abraham’s return lifts Chelsea
Following a tough week in which Premier League defeats by Manchester City and West Ham came either side of a Champions League draw at Valencia, Chelsea were looking to avoid three top-flight defeats in a row for the first time in four years.
They did that against a toothless Villa side, albeit with a tighter margin of victory than their performance deserved.
Mount’s stunning finish proved the difference but, with a refreshed Blues line-up featuring five changes from Saturday’s defeat having 25 attempts at goal, they should have been out of sight.
While England attacking midfielder Mount will take the plaudits for the winner, it was Abraham’s return from injury which was the real catalyst for change.
The Blues had been wasteful against West Ham and Abraham provided a clinical edge after holding his line to head in from 12 yards.
It was a richly deserved lead for the home side with Villa rarely having ventured into the Chelsea box, but it was greeted with muted celebrations from the striker, who scored 25 league goals in 38 Championship matches for Villa in his season-long loan.
“I said the club will always be close to my heart, last season was a long, hard season so I pay all my respects to them,” he said afterwards.
Blues boss Lampard said before the match that Abraham was still suffering some pain in his hip, yet he worked tirelessly throughout in a physical battle against muscular Villa centre-backs Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa.
After showing exceptional awareness and composure to tee up Mount’s winner, he was unfortunate not to score another himself – clipping wide of the left-hand post and being hustled out of a close-range chance by Mings – before departing to a standing ovation with seven minutes left.
Abraham looked to walk off gingerly after taking a knock a few moments earlier, although Lampard played down any injury concerns.
Battling Villa fall short again
Villa have performed admirably against the Premier League’s leading lights since returning to the top flight, without earning the rewards their performances have merited.
Dean Smith’s side opened the scoring in four of their five matches against established top-six opponents this season, pushing Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United close, with only defending champions Manchester City beating them with relative comfort.
Although these displays provided plenty of encouragement, Villa earned a solitary point.
At Stamford Bridge, they again showed the basic prerequisites of hard work and organisation, but were unable to stretch Chelsea as their forays into the opposition half were limited.
A quick-thinking pass from skipper Jack Grealish, who Smith complained afterwards needs more protection from referees, was key in the attack which led to Villa’s equaliser, allowing Ahmed Elmohamady to cross to Trezeguet who bundled in at the second attempt.
Other than that, Villa rarely threatened as they managed just three shots on target in the whole match, although Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga was required to deny Douglas Luiz what would have been an undeserved equaliser late on.
“We’re not far away, I don’t want to keep using the word ‘competitive’, we can be as good as these teams, we showed that in pockets,” Smith said.
“We need to be more consistent in what we do and braver on the ball.”
Man of the match – N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard:
“I thought we were great. I’m pleased because that was us again, we had a blip against West Ham and today we were back.
“Our character at half-time was important and we carried off where we left off. The disappointment of the day is we didn’t score two or three.
“Villa are stubborn, have picked up results on the road and you can see why. They have good players and are well organised.”
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith:
“I thought it was a fair result, the better team won.
“We had pockets of play throughout the game but not enough relentless pressure. We didn’t start either half well and they put us under pressure. We gave the ball away too cheaply, but got back into the game and when we showed a bit of belief we showed we could give them problems.
“They had the initiative, we knew they would start well after losing a London derby on Saturday.
“You don’t get much from officials here and I wasn’t happy with their performance tonight. Jack Grealish must have been the most-fouled player on the pitch, there were five or six not given.”
Chelsea continue to dominate Villa – the stats
- Chelsea have lost just one of their last 56 Premier League home games against newly promoted teams, winning 45 and drawing 10.
- Aston Villa have picked up just one point from their last 42 available in away games against sides starting the day in the top four.
- Chelsea have won nine of their last 10 Premier League meetings with Aston Villa, losing the other in March 2014.
- Chelsea have won five consecutive home league games against Aston Villa for the first time in their history.
- Tammy Abraham has scored 11 goals in 14 Premier League appearances this season – the only Chelsea players to score more in their first 14 appearances in a single Premier League season are Diego Costa (12) in 2014-15 and Nicolas Anelka (12) in 2008-09.
- Only Jamie Vardy (17) has been directly involved in more Premier League goals this season than Abraham (14 – 11 goals, 3 assists).
- Trezeguet is the first Aston Villa player to score in three consecutive Premier League starts since Tom Cleverley in May 2015.
- Trezeguet’s goal, assisted by Ahmed Elmohamady, is the first Premier League goal to be scored and assisted by Egyptian players.
Chelsea go back on the road with a trip to struggling Everton on Saturday (12:30 GMT), before Villa host second-placed Leicester City on Sunday (14:00).
Chelsea became the first team through to the Women’s Continental League Cup quarter-finals after beating Tottenham 5-1 at Kingsmeadow.
Beth England scored two of Chelsea’s five second-half goals to ensure Chelsea progressed and extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 10 games this season.
Elsewhere, there were also wins for fellow WSL sides Brighton and West Ham.
Brighton’s 5-0 win over London Bees moved them top of Group B.
The Hammers’ 3-1 win over Lewes moved them up to second in Group D behind Chelsea.
In the only all-WSL fixture of the night, Drew Spence’s early second-half goal set Chelsea up for a convincing win.
The London derby defeat was Spurs’ second in four days, having gone down 2-0 to Arsenal in front of a Women’s Super League record crowd of 38,262 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.
There was nothing like that crowd at Kingsmeadow, a ground with a capacity of less than 4,900 – which itself attract a record attendance for a WSL game held at a non-Premier League stadium when 4,790 watched Chelsea overcome Manchester United on Sunday.
In the all-Championship fixtures, Charlie Estcourt scored a late winner for Charlton Athletic against London City Lionesses, while the second tier’s bottom side Coventry United held division leaders Aston Villa in a 2-2 draw before going on to earn an extra point with a penalty shootout win.
- Coventry United 2-2 Aston Villa (Coventry won penalty shootout 3-1)
- Charlton Athletic 1-0 London City Lionesses
- London Bees 0-5 Brighton
- Chelsea 5-1 Tottenham
- West Ham 3-1 Lewes
BBC Sport has launched #ChangeTheGame to showcase female athletes in a way they never have been before. Through more live women’s sport available to watch across the BBC in 2019, complemented by our journalism, we are aiming to turn up the volume on women’s sport and alter perceptions. Find out more here.
Marcus Rashford scored a sensational free-kick winner as Manchester United beat Chelsea to reach the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.
The England striker gave United the lead with a penalty after Marcos Alonso fouled Daniel James.
Michy Batshuayi equalised for Chelsea, who had won their last seven games, with a great run from the halfway line and finish from outside the box.
But Rashford won the game with a swerving 30-yard free-kick.
The quarter-final draw will take place on Thursday at about 08:45 GMT on BBC Radio 2’s Zoe Ball Breakfast Show.
United’s decision to name strong team pays off
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer named a strong side, saying he wanted to “keep the momentum going” – with 19-year-old Brandon Williams the only unfamiliar youngster to start.
And it worked as they won for a third game in a row, all away from home – after a run of six games without a win.
Scott McTominay had already gone close to an opener when Rashford – who missed a penalty in Sunday’s 3-1 win at Norwich in the Premier League – sent Willy Caballero the wrong way from the spot.
Chelsea made six changes from Saturday’s win at Burnley and did not look their usual selves. Christian Pulisic, who scored a hat-trick at Turf Moor, failed to have much of an impact, although he did drag a shot wide in the second half.
Batshuayi’s equaliser was wonderful as he flicked Caballero’s long kick on with his head, before beating Harry Maguire for pace and smashing home from 25 yards.
But the headlines belong to Rashford, who turns 22 on Thursday, who settled the game with a fantastic free-kick which had shades of United great Cristiano Ronaldo.
Chelsea’s worse home record than last season – match stats
- Chelsea have lost three games at Stamford Bridge in 2019-20, one more than they did in the whole of the 2018-19 campaign.
- Manchester United have recorded back-to-back away wins at Chelsea for the first time since February 1998.
- United have won seven of their last eight League Cup matches against Premier League opposition.
- Marcus Rashford has scored five goals against Chelsea, his most against a single opponent. Four of those have come this season
- Since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first game in charge on 22 December, Manchester United have taken more (17) and scored more (12) penalties than any other Premier League team in all competitions.
- Michy Batshuayi equalled his longest scoring streak for Chelsea, having netted in three consecutive games for the third time for the Blues (previously doing so in May and September 2017).
- Chelsea (24 years 166 days) named their youngest starting XI in a League Cup fixture since October 2012, which was also against Manchester United (24y 7d).
Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley was “naive to be out before a Champions League game” after being pictured in a row with a taxi driver in Liverpool on Sunday night, said boss Frank Lampard.
Barkley reportedly spilled chips on the floor of the taxi and had an argument over money, with police involved.
Chelsea visit Lille on Wednesday.
“In terms of permission I don’t expect to be asked for that. He hasn’t committed a crime, apart from eating chips in a taxi,” said Lampard.
Chelsea, who beat Brighton 2-0 at home on Saturday, and Lille both lost their opening Champions League games.
“I feel for the cabbie and I think he has been naive to be out before a Champions League game – he has admitted that,” added Lampard.
“I like Ross, I have had no problem with him and he has admitted he made a mistake. I will take that at face value and move on.”
Lampard is not concerned by his side’s start in the Champions League, after they lost their opener 1-0 to Valencia with Barkley missing a penalty.
“I didn’t think Valencia was the worst game for us,” said Lampard.
“We should have got a result. With Lille, they have a lot of threats, speed and quality.
“It is not the be-all and end-all, we have to see it in the big picture, but it’s a game we have to be ready for.”
- Lille will be the fifth different French opponent Chelsea have faced, with each of those 16 matches coming in the Champions League (W5 D5 L6).
- Their six Champions League matches against English opposition all came against Manchester United, with the French side winning just once (D2 L3).
- Lille are winless in eight Champions League home matches (D3 L5), since beating AEK Athens in October 2006 (3-1).
- Chelsea have won seven of their last 12 away group games in the Champions League (W7 D2 L3), keeping a clean sheet on seven occasions.
- Chelsea have lost their last two Champions League matches – they have never lost three in a row in the competition.
- Lille had the youngest starting XI in the first round of Champions League group games – with an average age of 23 years and 277 days against Ajax.
- The two teams with the most shots on the first round of this season’s Champions League without scoring were Chelsea (22) and Lille (17).
- Frank Lampard could become the second Englishman to lose his first two matches in the Champions League, after Ray Harford in September 1995 with Blackburn Rovers.