Jorginho scored two penalties as Chelsea fought back from a goal down to beat Aston Villa and move level on points with second-placed Liverpool.
Villa had taken a fortunate lead in the 28th minute when Matt Targett’s whipped cross from the left was met by Chelsea defender Reece James and his glancing header diverted the ball past Edouard Mendy and into the net for an own goal.
But Chelsea were level six minutes later with Jorginho converting a penalty after Callum Hudson-Odoi had been brought down by Matty Cash’s clumsy challenge in the 18-yard box.
Substitute Romelu Lukaku, who had missed three matches because of Covid-19, came on at the start of the second half and scored within 11 minutes, heading in from Hudson-Odoi’s cross.
Lukaku helped create Chelsea’s third as he won an injury-time penalty, which Jorginho converted for his second goal of the game.
The victory gives Chelsea their first win in three Premier League matches to leave them third, behind Liverpool on goal difference and six points adrift of leaders Manchester City.
Returning Lukaku makes the difference
Chelsea were top of the league after their 2-1 win against Watford on 1 December, before a run of only five points from four games saw them fall behind City in the title race, but this was a hard-earned and much needed victory.
Villa were without manager Steven Gerrard after he tested positive for Covid-19, with assistant Gary McAllister issuing the instructions from the touchline.
Chelsea have also been affected by Covid-19 and boss Thomas Tuchel had unsuccessfully asked to have their goalless draw at Wolves on 19 December postponed.
They were still without Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, although Lukaku was back in the squad with Hudson-Odoi returning to the starting line-up.
Mason Mount nearly gave them a fortunate lead when a mis-hit cross hit the top of the bar, before Villa gained a slice of luck themselves.
James diverted Targett’s cross into his own net, although Blues goalkeeper Mendy should have done better as he got his fingers to it, but could not keep the ball out.
Chelsea were soon level with Jorginho’s first penalty.
Tuchel made a change at half-time with Lukaku coming on for defender Trevoh Chalobah, although the German was then forced into another substitution six minutes later when Thiago Silva went off injured with Andreas Christensen replacing him.
After Lukaku’s goal, Mount should have stretched Chelsea’s lead further. He had taken the ball past goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez and with only defender Tyrone Mings guarding the net, the England midfielder fired wide.
Hudson-Odoi also had a late effort saved by Martinez, but those misses did not prove costly as Chelsea scored their third late on.
It came from a storming run from Lukaku, with the forward brought down by Ezri Konsa and Jorginho kept his cool to score his ninth goal of the season and his sixth in six games.
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Squad number1Player nameMartínez
Squad number2Player nameCash
Squad number4Player nameKonsa
Squad number5Player nameMings
Squad number3Player nameTargett
Squad number8Player nameSanson
Squad number6Player nameDouglas Luiz
Squad number41Player nameJ Ramsey
Squad number10Player nameBuendía
Squad number20Player nameIngs
Squad number11Player nameWatkins
Squad number15Player nameTraoré
Squad number21Player nameEl Ghazi
Squad number33Player nameChukwuemeka
Squad number16Player nameMendy
Squad number14Player nameChalobah
Squad number6Player nameThiago Silva
Squad number2Player nameRüdiger
Squad number24Player nameJames
Squad number7Player nameKanté
Squad number5Player nameJorginho
Squad number3Player nameAlonso
Squad number19Player nameMount
Squad number20Player nameHudson-Odoi
Squad number10Player namePulisic
Squad number4Player nameChristensen
Squad number8Player nameKovacic
Squad number9Player nameLukaku
- 1MartínezBooked at 33mins
- 4KonsaBooked at 90mins
- 5MingsBooked at 65mins
- 8SansonSubstituted forEl Ghaziat 76′minutes
- 6Douglas Luiz
- 41J Ramsey
- 10BuendíaSubstituted forChukwuemekaat 74′minutes
- 20IngsSubstituted forTraoréat 73′minutes
- 21El Ghazi
- 14ChalobahSubstituted forLukakuat 45′minutes
- 6Thiago SilvaSubstituted forChristensenat 52′minutes
- 7KantéSubstituted forKovacicat 63′minutes
- 3AlonsoBooked at 70mins
- Martin Atkinson
Match ends, Aston Villa 1, Chelsea 3.
Second Half ends, Aston Villa 1, Chelsea 3.
Goal! Aston Villa 1, Chelsea 3. Jorginho (Chelsea) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.
Ezri Konsa (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Penalty Chelsea. Romelu Lukaku draws a foul in the penalty area.
Penalty conceded by Ezri Konsa (Aston Villa) after a foul in the penalty area.
Attempt blocked. Carney Chukwuemeka (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Attempt saved. Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Mateo Kovacic.
Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Ezri Konsa.
Attempt blocked. Marcos Alonso (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Mason Mount.
Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Ezri Konsa.
Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Jacob Ramsey (Aston Villa).
Attempt saved. Anwar El Ghazi (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Matt Targett.
Offside, Aston Villa. Douglas Luiz tries a through ball, but Ezri Konsa is caught offside.
Substitution, Aston Villa. Anwar El Ghazi replaces Morgan Sanson.
Foul by Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea).
Matthew Cash (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt missed. Morgan Sanson (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.
Foul by Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea).
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