Striker Romelu Lukaku scored as Chelsea got back on track in the race for the Premier League title on Sunday with a 3-1 away win over Aston Villa.
Thomas Tuchel’s side had picked up one win in their previous four Premier League matches, but Chelsea turned things around on Sunday as they came from behind to claim an important victory over Villa.
– Chelsea ratings: Lukaku, Hudson-Odoi 8/10 in win
– Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)
– Don’t have ESPN? Get instant access
Defender Reece James scored an own goal to hand Villa the lead midway through the first half, but Chelsea midfielder Jorginho levelled the scores from the penalty spot shortly after. Lukaku came off the bench at half-time and made his presence known, nodding home on 56 minutes. Jorginho scored another penalty in stoppage time after Lukaku was brought down in the box.
Romelu Lukaku proved to be the difference as he helped his side to a 3-1 win over Aston Villa on Sunday. Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images
Villa enjoyed the better of the chances in the opening stages, with striker Ollie Watkins racing down the left wing and into the 18-yard box on multiple occasions but he could not take advantage.
The home side’s early pressure paid off as they took the lead through a James own goal on 28 minutes. Villa defender Matt Targett delivered a cross, but it deflected off James’ head and past Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.
Chelsea midfielder Jorginho levelled the scores from the penalty spot on 34 minutes after forward Callum Hudson-Odoi was brought down inside the box by opposing defender Matthew Cash.
Lukaku’s involvement proved to be the difference, putting his side into the lead with a glancing header into the far bottom corner following a floated cross from Hudson-Odoi.
Midfielder Mason Mount missed a glorious opportunity to extend Chelsea’s lead when he skipped past opposing goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez but could not find the back of the empty net.
Lukaku raced behind Villa’s back line in stoppage time before winning Chelsea’s second penalty of the match when he was brought down by Ezri Konsa, allowing Jorginho dispatch home.
“I needed a performance like this,” said Lukaku, “It’s been difficult getting [on at] the end of games. I kept working hard. I’m happy with my performance and have to push on,” he added.
The former Manchester United and Inter Milan striker said Chelsea remained in the race to catch leaders City.
“We are the hunters now. The last results were not the best and now we have to chase. We have to treat every game like a final. Today we won and now we have to push on,” he said.