Chelsea 3-0 Aston Villa: Lukaku brace sinks confident Villa side
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 11: Romelu Lukaku of Chelsea scores their side's third goal during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on September 11, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Chelsea overcame a rather unlucky Aston Villa side at Stamford Bridge, with goals from Romelu Lukaku and Mateo Kovačić separating the two sides in the Capital.

Despite conceding within the opening 15 minutes, Dean Smith's Villa side continued to deal blows against the European Champions and were buoyed by the return of last season's top scorer Ollie Watkins, who managed a handful of efforts on goal. 

The appointment of set-piece coach Austin MacPhee has seen Villa raise the standard of corners and other set pieces since the season has begun, tonight was no different - Villa's better chances in the game came in the form of shots from defenders Ezri Konsa and Tyrone Mings in the first half, both of which came as a result of a corner.

Surprisingly, throughout the course of the match, Villa (18) attempted more shots than Chelsea (12) yet Smith's side left London without a win, which is somewhat of a familiar feeling as Villa's last win at the Bridge dates back to 2014.

3-0 proved to be somewhat of a flattering scoreline for the Blues, given Villa's vallient efforts on goal, Chelsea's professionalism and expereince, with the addition of a world class striker, proved to be the recipe for three points this afternoon.

Story of the match

Romelu Lukaku's second homecoming: The star man featured as the spearhead of Chelsea's forward line despite previous injury concerns during the international break and didn't take long to leave his mark on Villa.

The Belgian scored his first goal at Stamford Bridge of the season within the opening 15 minutes, as Kovačić successfully managed to beat Villa's press with a wonderful ball which carved Villa's defense into two. As Lukaku controlled the ball, he shrugged off Axel Tuanzebe and cooly slotted the ball underneath Villa's goalkeeping understudy Jed Steer

He managed to double his tally of the evening in the 94th minute of the game, winding up his strike outside the box after finding the space between Tuanzebe and Konsa, the striker put his side 3-0 up at the death with a wonderful hit with his left foot that flew into the top corner and well past Steer.

Despite scoring two, Lukaku's impact during the game was largely minimized by Villa's pressure and aggression in attacking Chelsea throughout the game - regardless of this, the Belgian's contributions took his tally to three league goals so far this season as he assisted in earning his side a vital three points at home upon the Premier League's return from the international break.

Takeaways from the match

Villa were architects of their own downfall: Early on Villa's naivety and unfamiliarity with the 3-5-2 system which they deployed saw Kovačić exploit the space between the midfield and defense when assisting Lukaku.

Villa will be more frustrated in the manner in which they conceded the second goal, as a poor backpass from Mings was picked up by Kovačić - who scored his first goal at Stamford Bridge in style as he chipped Steer. 

Villa's bold approach to the game would have paid off on another day, had keeper Edouard Mendy's goalkeeping heroics not managed to keep Villa's hard-fought efforts at bay. 

Is Lukaku the missing piece at Chelsea? For the second summer in a row, Chelsea has spent big on a striker. Timo Werner's tumultuous first season and Chelsea's desire to find a striker who knows where the back of the net is lead to Lukaku's return to Chelsea. 

The striker's presence upfront and ability to score two important goals, whilst not being involved as much as Chelsea may have hoped for this afternoon - is the difference between the two strikers.

The return of injured players: From a Villa perspective, to see Ollie Watkins, Leon Bailey,, Bertrand Traore, Tyrone Mings, and Ezri Konsa all return from injury for the fixture is a huge lift for Dean Smith's side. Morgan Sanson also featured in the matchday squad and will look to push for minutes as his recovery continues. 

Stand out player

Mateo Kovačić: The Croatian scored and assisted for the Blues and proved to be an important component in Chelsea's midfield as they ground out three points in a match where they perhaps deserved less. Scoring his first goal at Stamford Bridge since joining from Real Madrid, Kovačić marshaled the midfield well under pressure and influenced the game with his contributions.

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