Chelsea 'hunting' leaders after comeback win against Aston Villa

After drawing their last two games, Chelsea avoided losing more ground on Manchester City

Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku celebrates after scoring the second goal against Aston Villa. AFP
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Jorginho scored two penalties and Romelu Lukaku netted his first Premier League goal since September to lead Chelsea’s comeback 3-1 victory over Aston Villa on Sunday.

Lukaku’s first season back in England has been hampered by an ankle injury and the striker had not scored in the league since last facing Villa 106 days earlier.

After drawing their last two games, Chelsea avoided losing further ground on Manchester City, staying six points behind first place.

“I needed a performance like this,” Lukaku said. “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.

“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.”

Villa enjoyed a huge slice of fortune in the 28th minute when Chelsea defender Reece James rose to clear Matt Targett’s left-wing cross but only succeeded in diverting it over his own goalkeeper, Edouard Mendy.

Villa gave Chelsea a way back six minutes later when Matty Cash recklessly dived in on Callum Hudson-Odoi in the penalty area and Jorginho stepped up to convert from the spot.

Chelsea replaced Trevoh Chalobah with Lukaku at half-time and his presence rattled Villa immediately.

Lukaku’s Premier League drought ended in the 56th minute. Hudson-Odoi’s cross found Lukaku drifting in before a dozing Tyrone Mings and he glanced in from seven metres.

Jorginho celebrates after scoring his side's third goal. AP

It was Lukaku who had the telling effect once again in stoppage time. Ezri Konsa brought him down and Jorginho netted again from the spot.

Villa, who slip to 11th place, were without manager Steven Gerrard who is in isolation with the coronavirus.

Updated: December 27, 2021, 3:22 AM