Hapless Aston Villa ripped apart by rampant Chelsea
Records were broken and history of scoring goals in plenty was thrown out of the window as Paul Lambert’s Aston Villa were put to the sword with an 8-0 thumping at the hands of Chelsea. This result brings the much under scrutiny blues back to their 3rd position on the table, leap frogging Arsenal with a game in hand. This would be the ideal present gift wrapped for Rafael Benitez and his side as the Premier League breaks off for Christmas.
Prior to the fixture, Chelsea had become the subject of heavy criticism for their inability to secure a qualification to the knockout stages of the Champions League and the shock 1-0 defeat at the hands of Brazilian outfit Corinthians in the FIFA Club World Cup. Despite the ongoing manager issues clouding the club, Benitez’s men came out all guns blazing to secure 3 points at long last, and also relieved their fans of a possible drop into the labyrinth of the Premier League. The main headline prior to the match however was that inspirational talisman Frank Lampard was to make his 500th appearance in the Premier League, and gladly for him, the occasion ended on a winning note for the team and a happy one for him.
Benitez surprised many when he opted to deploy David Luiz in central midfield, resting the sensational Oscar, which obviously did not bode well with the Chelsea Faithful, but after the result, the question one will be asking is whether the fans will start showing the battered Benitez the support he deserves. Perhaps after a few games, provided he continues to tip the results in his favour on a consistent basis.
The Chelsea Faithful and Benitez couldn’t ask for more as Fernando Torres forced his critics to take back their remarks as he made his presence felt with a powerful header, giving Brad Guzan no chance, courtesy of a mouthwatering cross from fellow Spaniard Cesar Azpilicueta. Aston Villa were riding on a 3-1 away victory at Anfield, which prompted manager Paul Lambert to hint at the beginning of a purple patch for his Villans, but Torres’ strike knocked the stuffing out of them, something they could not recover from. Barry Bannan and Christian Benteke did the needful to make ends meet, but were shut down time and again by Lampard and co.
Nathan Baker and Chris Herd found it hard to defend against the kings of Europe, and finally gave up, when the Australian, Herd conceded a free kick at the edge of the penalty area. Licking his lips like a hungry lion, David Luiz stepped up and eventually found the back of the net. This was the beginning of the end for Villa. Despite some outstanding saves and clearances from Brad Guzan, Villa lacked the cutting-edge and fell prey to Chelsea’s attacks and impressive set pieces time and again. It was lights out for Villa in the first half, when Ivanovic’s header found the back of the net, from a Juan Mata corner, which ricocheted off Gary Cahill, only for Ivanovic to get his head to it first despite Villa’s best efforts to clear.
If there was anyone who wanted the match to end, it was Paul Lambert. With his young and explosive side reeling 3-0 at half time, staring down the barrel, Villa entered the second half, only for Chelsea to add to their misery by blasting 5 past them in the 45 minutes to follow.
The main headline maker, captain Frank Lampard, showed why he is loved by the club with a vintage strike at 58 minutes against the run of play to make it 4-0 in Chelsea’s favour. On a sad note, he was withdrawn by Benitez right after the goal in a bid to give other players an opportunity and some play time, which added insult to injury for Villa. As if they had nothing to lose, Villa probed with Matthew Lowton and Andreas Wiemann, only to see their efforts undone, when substitute debutant Lucas Piazon produced a pass for Ramires, which saw the Brazilian score the second goal of the half against the run of play.
With the positive substitutions and the constant probing leading Villa nowhere, Chelsea continued the rampage on the Villans and made it 6 within five minutes of the 5th goal. A low-on-confidence David Herd, once again played criminal with his reckless challenge gift wrapping his Christmas present to substitute Oscar who made it seven in the 79th minute, slotting home a penalty past a helpless Brad Guzan, who had a pretty decent game despite being let down by his horrific defence.
Off colour lately after the amazing beginning of the season, Eden Hazard showed his class by scoring in the 83rd minute after twin shots on target, with the first shot kept out by a resilient Guzan. In closing time, Lucas Piazon had his penalty saved courtesy of a reckless challenge by Cirian Clark, on the Chelsea build-up.
Despite the goalkeeper’s performance, Villa’s nightmare finally came to an end with Ramires taking the opportunity to score his second goal in the match within the first minute of the three minutes of added on of injury time which finished off a one sided encounter. It was a home side goalfest and a rampant Chelsea display which takes them back to the 3rd position after almost a 2 week break from Premier League football.
Chelsea now make the trip to Norwich on boxing day, a fixture in which the blues will be high on confidence, and it will also be a chance for manager Benitez to win the Chelsea fans over with a similar victory, though it’ll require a high amount of effort.
Aston Villa, who’s goal difference was left in tatters, will entertain Tottenham Hotspur at home, in another boxing day fixture. Lambert will have to tighten his defence and also make several changes up front, even bring back the likes of Darren Bent if need be.