Chelsea vs. Aston Villa: 6 Things We Learned
1. Chelsea Still Are a Very Good Team
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Not that we ever had our doubts about it really, but Chelsea's eight-goal drubbing reminded us once more that they really are a very good football team.
Their midfield is one of the strongest in the league, and their attack, when working well together, is a deadly and dynamic unit—one that is more than capable of running up the score on their opponents with their crisp, incisive passing game.
The Blues did seem to have lost some of their attacking edge under Rafa Benitez, with the former Liverpool boss opting for defensive solidarity over an attacking push—something that doesn't appear to be too much of an issue now for the West London club.
Chelsea have netted 11 goals in their past two games—finishing with a plethora of chances and shots on goal against Villa this weekend. The likes of Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard continue to terrorize opponents in the attacking third and will continue to be a force together throughout the remainder of the Premier League season.
2. Is Fernando Torres Back?
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Heading into the match against Aston Villa, manager Rafa Benitez said (via ESPN) that he felt Fernando Torres was close to being completely "back" this season and that the club were very happy with the current performances of the Spanish international.
I wonder then how he's feeling after Torres found the back of the net again in the huge win—opening the scoring after three minutes with an excellent long-range header that was perhaps more of a striker's goal than he has scored so far all season.
Torres has now scored in his last four matches and has six goals and an assist for the month of December—something that will please those at the club to no end.
He looked like the true No. 9 that Chelsea want him to be against Aston Villa, and whilst he is yet to show similar form against the better sides in the competition, it's hard to fault the man for the month that he has had so far.
Maybe it's time to lay off El Nino for a bit.
3. David Luiz Turned It on Again
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Chelsea's latest midfield revelation, David Luiz, was simply unstoppable against Aston Villa and is primed for a big year in the middle if Rafa Benitez persists with him.
Luiz was strong against Monterrey and now, playing in midfield for the first time in the Premier League this season, showed that he can be a dynamic ball-winner and playmaker if afforded the time and opportunities to do so.
A fantastic free kick was simply the icing on the cake for a brilliant performance from Luiz—one that earned him a Man of the Match performance and the highest overall match rating out of any Chelsea player, according to WhoScored.
4. Brad Guzan Deserves Some Credit
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Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan was always going to be in for a long night after Fernando Torres' header looped over his outstretched hands in the opening three minutes of the game.
Just how long it would turn out to be was something that nobody could have imaged, but credit where credit's due for Guzan—the keeper prevented the scoreline for being even more ridiculous and embarrassing than it already was for Villa.
In addition to saving Lucas Piazon's penalty attempt, Guzan stopped five or six good goal-scoring opportunities on the night and could not be put to blame for hardly even of the eight goals Chelsea ran in on the night—maybe Ramires' if he had gotten down quicker.
The shot-stopper has been one of the most underrated goalkeepers this season and has been an integral part in Villa's emergence out of the relegation zone this year. He will no doubt continue to be as important throughout the latter half of the season also.
5. Stamford Bridge Is Still a Tough Trip
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When we talk about imposing trips to make in the English Premier League, Stamford Bridge isn't always one that immediately springs to mind.
Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium, Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, Liverpool at Anfield—all of which would be considered more difficult trips to make than the journey to take on Chelsea in front of their faithful West London followers.
Yet we must recognise just how important playing at the Bridge is to the Blues this year and just how strong they've been at home this season.
Chelsea might have been eliminated from the group stages of the UEFA Champions League, but at home, they remained undefeated against some of the top teams in world football.
And in the Premier League, Chelsea's only defeat has been that fateful match against Manchester United where they were controversially beaten 3-2. The Blues average 2.44 goals per game at home this season and have kept their opponents scoreless on more than half of their home matches so far.
A very tough place to play away to indeed.
6. Goal of the Night?
In bagging eight goals, Chelsea have a number of different options to choose from as to who scored the greatest goal on the night.
Fernando Torres netted a brilliant header to open the scoring. David Luiz slammed home a dramatic free kick that left Brad Guzan no opportunity to save it. Frank Lampard drilled home a long-range volley. Eden Hazard sensationally dribbled his way through the Villa defense and found the back of the net.
I've gone with Lampard's goal as the greatest of the night, though Hazard's does show just how skillful the Belgian international will be throughout his career.
What did you learn from Chelsea's big victory against Villa?
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