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September 19, 2021

EPL: Chelsea beat Aston Villa to maintain their unbeaten start

Chelsea beat Aston Villa to maintain their unbeaten start

Romelu Lukaku scored his first ever goals at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea beat Aston Villa to maintain their unbeaten start.

Lukaku kissed the club badge as he celebrated his opener in front of Blues fans after beating Villa goalkeeper Jed Steer on his 15th appearance at the stadium overall.

The Belgian’s clinical finish through Steer’s legs came from a precise pass from Mateo Kovacic inside his own half.

Dean Smith’s side created plenty of chances after conceding and managed four shots on target, but could not find a way past Blues goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

Villa were punished for their wasted chances when Kovacic doubled Chelsea’s lead early in the second half with a first-time finish into the bottom corner from Tyrone Mings’ weak back pass.

Lukaku sealed the win for Chelsea in injury time with a powerful finish down from the edge of the box.

The victory takes Thomas Tuchel’s side up to second – level on points and goal difference with leaders Manchester United – and sees the club reach a significant milestone as they become only the second team in Premier League history to reach 600 wins in the competition (Man Utd have 689).

Villa’s preparations for their trip to Stamford Bridge were disrupted with the absence of first-choice goalkeeper Emi Martinez and winger Emi Buendia, who missed out because of quarantine rules after the international break.

Stand-in goalkeeper Steer was in for a busy afternoon with Chelsea forcing three corners inside the opening 10 minutes, and they finally opened the scoring on the quarter-hour.

The Blues broke down the Villa defence after a superb pass from Kovacic inside his own half found Lukaku on the edge of the box.

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The Belgian slalomed past Villa defender Axel Tuanzebe before sweeping past Steer for his second Premier League goal of the season.

Villa enjoyed a bright spell after conceding and nearly responded when Ollie Watkins’ low drive forced Mendy into an impressive reaction save, diving low to his right to keep out the forward on his first start of the season.

Mendy was the busier of the two goalkeepers in the first half and had a let off when Watkins rounded him only to take one too many touches and allow Thiago Silva to get back and block his goal-bound effort.

Mendy redeemed himself with two saves in quick succession to deny Villa defenders Mings and Ezri Konsa, but any hopes of a comeback were dashed when Kovacic doubled Chelsea’s lead four minutes after the restart.

After making the first goal, the Croatia midfielder pounced on a weak Mings pass to put the ball beyond Steer and into the far corner for only his second ever Premier League goal.

Villa managed to keep Lukaku relatively quiet, with the 28-year-old managing just 25 touches of the ball in 93 minutes – less than any player who started the game.

While he was restricted to just two chances, Lukaku scored from them both, firing into the roof of the net from Cesar Azpilicueta’s pass to make it eight goals in his last six Premier League outings against Villa.

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