Pulisic sparks Chelsea comeback v. Aston Villa
Chelsea beat Aston Villa 2-1 at Villa Park on Sunday as the Blues launched a superb second half comeback, led by USMNT star Christian Pulisic.
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After Kortney Hause put Villa ahead, against the run of play, in the first half, Chelsea scored two goals in one minute and 54 seconds to turn the game on its head.
Christian Pulisic got the first just a few minutes after coming on, then Olivier Giroud sealed the win with a fine turn and finish.
With the win Chelsea strengthen their grip on fourth place, while Villa remain in the bottom three.
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Three things we learned
1. Chelsea’s season in a nutshell: They created so many chances and should have won comfortably. Chelsea like to make things difficult for themselves. They need to improve defensively but going forward they have so many options and will add Ziyech and Werner to the mix for next season too. Chelsea need to be more ruthless but they dominated this game. Only Man City have created more chances than them this season in the PL.
2. Heartbreak for Villa: It looked like Villa were well on the way to a big win in their relegation battle but in truth they didn’t deserve anything from this game. They took a shock lead but never had control in this game and were battling wave after wave of Chelsea attack. Dean Smith will be pleased with their effort but Villa were outclassed and they have a tough run-in coming up.
3. Lampard focusing on five sub rule: It worked a treat to bring Pulisic, Abraham and Barkley on and Lampard has said he will rotate his squad fully. When you have so many great attacking players, why not?
Man of the Match
N’Golo Kante - He is back and was majestic throughout. Kante covers so much ground and is so clever with his positioning. Chelsea were in control because he controlled the midfield.
Chelsea started the brighter of the two teams and Mason Mount had the best effort as he hammered a shot towards goal that Orjan Nyland beat away.
Willian whipped in a dangerous cross which Olivier Giroud and Ruben Loftus-Cheek couldn’t quite get on the end of as Villa dropped deeper and deeper in the first half. Anwar El Ghazi tested Kepa from distance and John McGinn sent a header off target as Villa had a handful of chances in the first half.
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Mason Mount was a nuisance and cut inside and played a great ball to the back post which Loftus-Cheek just failed to get on the end of. Chelsea were made to rue those missed chances as Villa struck just before the break. Douglas Luiz whipped in a delicious ball and Hause finished at the second attempt to put the hosts 1-0 up.
Mateo Kovacic almost smashed home right on half time but Villa went in ahead at the break.
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In the second half Chelsea clicked through the gears but it wasn’t until Pulisic and Ross Barkley came on that they made the most of their dominance.
Moments after coming on, Pulisic made it 1-1 with a calm finish at the back post after a fine cross from Cesar Azpilicueta.
The moments after that Olivier Giroud made it 2-1 as Chelsea turned he game on its head after Pulisic arrived.
Jota nearly equalized in the 87th minute as his first touch of the bench saw him drag an effort wide of the far post, but Chelsea held on for the win.