The Blues came into the match on the back of two successive stalemates in the Premier League. The dropped points saw them concede their top spot to Manchester City and slip even below second-placed Liverpool.
Sunday’s win over Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa has put the wind back in Chelsea’s sails. They played well, maintained their shape, and were clinical in front of goal. The Blues found themselves a goal down in the 28th minute after Reece James bundled the ball into his own net.
Five minutes later Callum Hudson-Odoi was fouled inside the Villa box and it handed Chelsea the opportunity to draw level from the spot. Jorginho stepped up to convert the resultant penalty to bring Chelsea back into the contest.
Substitute Romelu Lukaku then put Chelsea ahead after the break before Jorginho scored another penalty in added time to seal the game for the visitors.
Here are the five players who contributed the most to Chelsea’s impressive 3-1 victory at Villa Park on Boxing Day:
#5 Antonio Rudiger
Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger arguably enjoyed the most comfortable night at Villa Park on Sunday. The German defender was surefooted and won most of his duels with ease.
Over the course of the match, Rudiger performed three clearances, had two interceptions and attempted four tackles.
The Germany international also won five of his six duels and provided six accurate long-balls. All in all, it was an impressive performance from the experienced defender, proving once again how valuable he is to this Chelsea team.
#4 Thiago Silva
While Rudiger was in charge of handling the left side, Thiago Silva was tasked with maintaining sanity at the back. With Trevoh Chalobah drawing most of the fire from Villa players, Silva had to remain calm and stop dangerous situations from developing.
The Brazilian defender was as composed as ever and led Chelsea's backline with all his experience.
The former Paris Saint-Germain man had one clearance, blocked two shots and intercepted the ball twice. He was also excellent with his long balls, delivering 12 of his 15 attempts on target.
Silva was forced off seven minutes into the second half with an injury concern. He was seemingly feeling his hamstring on the pitch, which dampened Chelsea’s holiday spirit to an extent.
#3 Callum Hudson-Odoi
Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel had the luxury of calling Callum Hudson-Odoi into action from the start on Sunday. Despite not being able to participate in the last two matches due to COVID-19, the 21-year-old looked sharp as ever and kept Villa on their toes.
Hudson-Odoi used his pace well to get past opposition defenders and had the vision to pick out his teammates in space. He also won Chelsea their first penalty of the match in the 33rd minute.
The Englishman’s movement was too much to handle for Matty Cash as the right-back ended up bringing the player down inside the box. Jorginho stepped up and converted the penalty with ease.
Hudson-Odoi then helped Romelu Lukaku find the back of the net in the second half. His peach of a cross found the Belgian in space, allowing Lukaku to head home in style.
Chelsea midfielder Jorginho enjoyed an impressive outing against Aston Villa, especially in the second half. The Italy international initially struggled to find his footing thanks to Villa’s high-intensity football, but found his mojo as the match wore on.
His passing was not particularly inventive as he chose to stick to the basics and keep the game moving. Three of Jorginho’s four attempted long balls reached their target, he created one big chance and won six of his eight duels.
Most importantly, he was as cool as a cucumber when it mattered and expertly put away two penalties to help Chelsea win the game.
Thanks to Hudson-Odoi, Jorginho got the first spot-kick in the 34th minute. He hit it confidently, giving Villa stopper Emiliano Martinez no chance. Jorginho’s second, which came in the 93rd minute, was even more precise.
He beat Martinez’s fingertips and found the bottom right-hand corner to seal three points for the west London outfit.
#1 Romelu Lukaku
Chelsea ace Romelu Lukaku finally returned to the fold on Sunday night and showed what the Blues were missing up top.
Introduced in place of Chalobah, Lukaku immediately gave Chelsea direction in attack. Since his introduction, almost every long-ball was being aimed at him and the big Belgian rarely failed to control them.
Ten minutes after coming on, Hudson-Odoi’s impeccable cross found Lukaku inside the box. The centre-forward headed the ball into the top corner to put Chelsea in front.
Lukaku became even more menacing after scoring the goal. He regularly barged into the Villa box and ultimately drew a penalty in added time. Jorginho stepped up for the second time on the night and completed his brace to keep Villa from springing any surprises at the death.