Thomas Tuchel’s team have started the new campaign in good form, winning two and drawing one so far, while Villa have taken four points from their first three matches in something of a new era after selling Jack Grealish in the summer. Chelsea are boosted by the news that they are one of the teams who have ultimately been allowed to play their South American players after the international break fiasco, though Thiago Silva is in the line-up having not been a regular starter at the beginning of this season.
Saul is involved for his debut after joining from Atletico Madrid on deadline day, while Aston Villa are still looking to start getting the best out of some of their new arrivals, including Leon Bailey. The more optimistic fans of Dean Smith’s side might have been hoping for a push at the European spots this season, but it looks more competitive and congested at the top end of the table than ever.
Follow all the team news and updates here as Chelsea face Aston Villa, as well as the end of the Manchester United vs Newcastle match as Cristiano Ronaldo scores on his comeback:
Havertz misses chance
51’ – Kai Havertz has his first real chance of the game having been played in over the top of the defence by Jorginho.
He collects the ball on his left foot and looks to hit a shot across the face of goal but gets no power or accuracy on it and it dribbles harmlessly wide.
Dan Austin11 September 2021 18:41
GOAL! Kovacic scores after Mings howler
48’ – Aston Villa are already being made to pay for not taking advantage of their first-half dominance.
Mateo Kovacic has doubled Chelsea’s lead after capitalising on Tyrone Mings’ short back pass to take control of the ball and slide a finish past Jed Steer and into the far post.
A goal from nothing. So, so easy,
Dan Austin11 September 2021 18:38
Tuchel takes Saul off on debut as second-half re-starts
Both sides are back out for the second-half and Saul Niguez has indeed been withdrawn at the break for Jorginho.
Aston Villa are unchanged, and Chelsea get us underway again in west London.
Dan Austin11 September 2021 18:35
Mendy keeps Chelsea in the lead
Senegalese goalkeeper Mendy made four strong saves in that half from the likes of Tyrone Mings, Jacob Ramsay and Ezri Konsa to ensure his side went into the break with the lead.
What was arguably more impressive though was the former Rennes’ man’s ability to deal with crosses and take pressure off his side in crucial moments.
Thomas Tuchel will be delighted with his contribution once again.
Dan Austin11 September 2021 18:29
Tale of two midfielders for Chelsea
The contrast in Chelsea’s first-half display was most evident in the respective performances of Saul Niguez and Mateo Kovacic.
The latter created the only goal of the game so far superbly, winning the ball back in midfield before moving forward and clipping a precise through ball towards the penalty area for Lukaku to do the rest.
Saul, on the other hand, has dawdled on the ball in midfielder and been caught in possession on far too many occasions. His need for extra time is costing his team in dangerous areas and he’s been bailed out by team-mates including Mendy and Thiago Silva too often.
It might not be long until we see Jorginho replace him.
Dan Austin11 September 2021 18:25
Half-time and Chelsea lead against impressive Villa
45+2 – The referee has blown the half-time whistle and somehow Chelsea remain in the lead at Stamford Bridge despite being second best for the majority of the contest.
Romelu Lukaku scored his first goal in 15 appearances at this stadium to the give the Blues the lead, collecting a wonderful ball from Mateo Kovacic before turning past Axel Tuanzebe and tucking a finish through Jed Steer’s legs.
But since then Villa have had all of the chances and the brilliance of Édouard Mendy is the major reason Thomas Tuchel’s men still hold the advantage.
Dan Austin11 September 2021 18:18
Mendy saves from Ramsay
42’ – Ezri Konsa wins the ball back with a sliding tackle in midfield and sets Jacob Ramsay on his way. The 20-year-old advances towards the penalty area and hits a left-footed shot in the direction of the near post which Édouard Mendy once again has to react quickly to save.
Ramsay is impressing here so far but Mendy has been by far the most valuable player on the pitch.
Dan Austin11 September 2021 18:14
Saúl having a nightmare
37’ – Saul Niguez has been absolutely dreadful this afternoon and has just given the ball away again in a dangerous area under no pressure whatsoever.
Thiago Silva makes a foul to stop an attack progressing and is fortunate to get away without a booking.
McGinn floats the cross towards Konsa at the far post but it’s too heavy and out for a goal-kick.
Dan Austin11 September 2021 18:09
Super double save from Mendy
33’ – Tyrone Mings takes the ball down in the penalty area from a free-kick and hits a half volley towards goal which Édouard Mendy palms away, before a re-bound shot comes from Ezri Konsa which the Chelsea stopper does brilliantly to claw around the post.
Villa are completely dominating play here, and creating plenty of chances, but they need to take advantage now.
Dan Austin11 September 2021 18:05
Mings goes into the book
27’ – Tyrone Mings is the second Villa player to go into the book in this first-half.
He spotted an opportunity to try and win the ball back high up the pitch but slid directly into Callum Hudson-Odoi rather than taking the ball.
Dan Austin11 September 2021 17:59