Chelsea ease past Villa
Written By: Robert Halter
After the disappointment of losing 1-0 to Corinthians in the FIFA Club World Championship final in Japan, Chelsea returned to the U.K. to book a semi final place in the Capital One Cup after winning 5-1 at Leeds United but for their last home match of 2012, the Blues hosted Aston Villa, whose last Barclays Premier League match was a stunning 3-1 victory at Liverpool, just over a week before their encounter at Stamford Bridge, two days before Christmas. It took just three minutes for Chelsea to forge ahead as from a right wing cross by Cesar Azpilicueta, it was back to his best for Fernando Torres as his bullet header crashed into the roof of the net. The Blues increased their advantage on twenty nine minutes following a foul by Villa’s Chris Herd on Hazard. From the resulting free kick, David Luiz bent the ball around the wall with a measured strike which soared into the left side of the goal. Five minutes later, it was plain sailing for the Blues when from a Juan Mata corner, Villa’s goalkeeper Brad Guzan, pulled off a save to block Gary Cahill’s strike on the turn but from the rebound, Branislav Ivanovic was on hand to head the ball into the centre of the net for a third goal to add to Chelsea’s tally. Four minutes into the second half, a cross by Victor Moses on the right hand side presented Mata with a chance but his shot flew over the top as the ball deflected off Guzan over the bar. Villa were chasing a lost cause but made a double substitution of Joe Bennett for Eric Lichaj and Stephen Ireland for Ashley Westwood. On fifty seven minutes, Guzan made a pin point save to keep out a Torres strike although his rebound effort found the net but was ruled offside. This was swiftly followed by Guzan blocking with his feet, a well struck ball by Moses, after he was put through by Hazard but Chelsea did not have to wait long for a fourth goal in the fifty eighth minute when Mata spread the ball out wide to Blues captain Frank Lampard, whose low long range strike landed in the bottom left corner. It was the last piece of action for Lampard as he was replaced by Ramires. On the hour mark Hazard blasted over from a Ramires ball in and then three minutes later, Villa could have added a consolation goal when Ireland supplied Andreas Weimann, whose shot deflected off Petr Cech’s legs and onto the crossbar as the Blues keeper averted the danger. In the sixty sixth minute, Guzan produced a near post stop to prevent Azpilicueta’s effort creeping in, after a neat lay off by Mata. As Chelsea subbed Torres for Oscar, he could have made an impact after just three minutes on the field but Oscar dragged the ball wide having been put in the clear by Ramires. Blues interim first team manager Rafael Benitez gave Lucas Piazon his opportunity to take over from Mata and Piazon made an important contribution with a well weighted ball to Ramires, who fired the ball through Guzan’s legs to add a Chelsea fifth on seventy five minutes. Within four minutes, the Blues made it 6-0 from the penalty spot as Oscar blasted the ball into the roof of the net, having been fouled by Herd to gain the spot kick. After Jordan Bowery replaced Brett Holman, Chelsea completed the magnificent seven on eighty three minutes as Hazard with individual skill turned the Villa defence inside out and then applied the finishing touch by hammering the ball into the top right corner. It was becoming a day to forget for Villa, who conceded another penalty two minutes from normal time when club captain Ciaran Clark clipped Piazon in the area but this time Guzan pulled off a save to keep out Piazon’s spot kick but Chelsea still had unfinished business in stoppage time as Oscar set up Ramires, who bent the ball into the roof of the net to leave Aston Villa on the wrong end of an eight nil drubbing after Chelsea completed their demolition job.