Chelsea were finally back in action on Sunday afternoon as Frank Lampard’s men travelled up to Birmingham to commence their Project Restart. With Manchester United, Leicester City and Sheffield United all dropping points throughout the week, it was crucial for the Blues to gain a win at Villa Park.
Thankfully, after going 1-0 down, Chelsea we able to come back 2-1, putting them in a comfortable spot in the table as they sit just three points behind third-place Leicester. But what were the key talking points during our first match back? Here are 5 things we learnt from Chelsea’s latest victory…
Super Sub: Christian Pulisic
Christian Pulisic is widely known for his superhero nicknames – but this week, ‘super sub’ seems more appropriate for the talented youngster. The 21-year-old, who has struggled for game time since joining the Blues, made a significant difference the moment he came onto the pitch – scoring the first goal in Chelsea’s 2-1 comeback against Villa. Pulisic was able to make the most of a superb cross from the captain – and gave us that much-needed lift in the second half. The American seemed much more suited on the left wing, as opposed to Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who we often see in a much deeper role on the field. With such a superb performance from the substitute, will Frank Lampard be more willing to start the former Dortmund man?
N’Golo Kante Back to His Best
When the lineups were released prior to the game on Sunday, it was a promising sight to see N’Golo Kante back in the base of a midfield three. There has been a huge debate surrounding the Frenchman’s best positioning at Chelsea, with different Chelsea managers often disagreeing on the matter. However, thanks to his performance at the weekend, the World Cup winner proved just how talented he is occupying that role. Kante’s performance was simply superb – he controlled the game well and defended even better, making it almost impossible for the opposing side to get past him.
Another Fine Performance by Mason Mount
Commentators, pundits and Chelsea fans alike were all willing to give their praises to Chelsea’s number 19 yesterday – and with good reason. The 21-year-old once again showed why he is so important to this Chelsea side, with his endless amount of energy and excellent creativity. The youngster had a nice shot in the early moments, before creating a crucial chance for Loftus-Cheek during a great passage of play. He was able to put pressure on Villa during the entirety of the match, making it impossible for the gaffer to drop him.
Despite Chelsea coming away with 3 points, it would be naïve to say that their performance was perfect. Going 1-0 down against a side battling for relegation is never ideal – and it only took one chance for Villa to go ahead. Unfortunately, our mistakes always come from our fragile defence. Once again, we were unable to deal with a cross from the opposition and effectively clear the chance. Both Antonio Rudiger and Marcos Alonso had poor games, with Andreas Christensen at fault for the goal as the 24-year-old failed to get back.
Credit to the Captain
However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom on the backline. Cesar Azplicueta put in a fine performance, providing assists for both of Chelsea’s goals. The captain had a great attacking output all game, putting in a total of 11 crosses during the match – causing havoc on the right side of the pitch. A man who often goes under the radar, we must praise the Spaniard for his fine performance on Sunday.