Aston Villa’s final game of 2021 ended in defeat as Chelsea ran out 3-1 winners at Villa Park on Boxing Day.
A Reece James own-goal had given Villa the lead midway through the first-half but a brace of penalties from Jorginho either side of a Romelu Lukaku header sent the Blues back to London with the points and handed Steven Gerrard his third defeat as Villa boss.
Villa started well without their manager in the dugout, whom was at home isolating after testing positive for covid.
They knocked the ball around well and limited Chelsea to very little of the ball in the opening stages.
And they were rewarded for a bright start just before the half hour mark - Reece James heading into the roof of his own net when attempting to clear Matt Targett’s driven cross.
But the goal seemed to wake the visitors up and they were behind for less than five minutes.
Jorginho stepped up to send Emiliano Martinez the wrong way from the spot after Matty Cash had recklessly brought down Callum Hudson-Odoi in the area.
Thomas Tuchel, unhappy with what he had seen in the first-half responded by introducing Lukaku at the break and his change had the desired affect when the Belgian breezed past Tyrone Mings to head home a Hudson-Odoi cross just ten minutes after the restart.
The visitors, in truth, were far better after the break and frustrated Villa - holding them to just one shot on target in 90 minutes.
Chelsea should have added a third when Mason Mount rounded Martinez but with the whole goal to aim at, the England midfielder fired into the side netting from 15-yards.
The Blues did get their third in stoppage time though. Ezri Konsa brought down Lukaku who was through on goal and Jorginho stepped up to convert his second and Chelsea’s third from the spot.
It’s the third time this season Tuchel’s men have got the better of Villa who will be happy to see the back of them.
Aston Villa (4-3-3): Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett; Sanson (76’ El-Ghazi), Luiz, Ramsey; Buendia (73’ Chukwuemeka), Watkins, Ings (73’ Traore)
Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Mendy; Rudiger, Silva (52’ Christensen), Chalobah (45’ Lukaku); Alonso, Jorginho, Kante (63’ Kovacic), James; Mount, Hudson-Odoi; Pulisic
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