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Chelsea 2:1 Aston Villa
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard praised striker Tammy Abraham's growing influence as the Blues
rediscovered their winning touch against Aston Villa.
Abraham reinforced his importance to Lampard's side, scoring the opener and
setting up the second on his return from injury in Chelsea's 2-1 Premier
League victory at Stamford Bridge.
The 22-year-old England international missed the Blues' home defeat by West Ham with a hip
injury and put them ahead against Villa with a firm header from Reece
After Villa equalised against the run of play when Trezeguet bundled in, Chelsea regained the lead shortly after the
restart when Abraham neatly chested Willian's cross into the path of
Mason Mount who thumped home a volley.
"Tammy is a personality that's growing in our dressing room every day with his enthusiasm and his will to win," said Lampard.
"He is a striker that's near the top of the goalscoring charts in the
league, he's showing his all-round game, stretches defences and he
starts our press.
"And of course if a player's on such a good run it's normal that if they go out of the team that you can miss them, and
he came straight back in as he left off."
Chelsea, like they did in the first half before Trezeguet's leveller, dominated possession and
territory as they looked to increase their advantage.
Abraham twice came close to adding a third against the club he helped fire to
promotion last season, while Willian - one of Chelsea's other star
performers - hit the post with an exquisite free-kick.
The Blues ended a run of back-to-back defeats with a victory which helps them
consolidate fourth place, moving them six points clear of nearest rivals
Wolves, while narrowing the gap on third-placed Manchester City to
Villa, who have won just once on the road this season, remain in 15th place, a point above the relegation zone after
Abraham's return lifts ChelseaFollowing a tough week in which Premier League defeats by Manchester City and
West Ham came either side of a Champions League draw at Valencia,
Chelsea were looking to avoid three top-flight defeats in a row for the
first time in four years.
They did that against a toothless Villa side, albeit with a tighter margin of victory than their performance deserved.
Mount's stunning finish proved the difference but, with a refreshed Blues
line-up featuring five changes from Saturday's defeat having 25 attempts
at goal, they should have been out of sight.
While England attacking midfielder Mount will take the plaudits for the winner, it was
Abraham's return from injury which was the real catalyst for change.
The Blues had been wasteful against West Ham and Abraham provided a
clinical edge after holding his line to head in from 12 yards.
It was a richly deserved lead for the home side with Villa rarely having
ventured into the Chelsea box, but it was greeted with muted
celebrations from the striker, who scored 25 league goals in 38
Championship matches for Villa in his season-long loan.
"I said the club will always be close to my heart, last season was a long, hard
season so I pay all my respects to them," he said afterwards.
Blues boss Lampard said before the match that Abraham was still suffering
some pain in his hip, yet he worked tirelessly throughout in a physical
battle against muscular Villa centre-backs Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa.
After showing exceptional awareness and composure to tee up Mount's winner,
he was unfortunate not to score another himself - clipping wide of the
left-hand post and being hustled out of a close-range chance by Mings -
before departing to a standing ovation with seven minutes left.
Abraham looked to walk off gingerly after taking a knock a few moments earlier,
although Lampard played down any injury concern.
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|Thu 05 Dec 2019||127||KellyChi|