Jose Mourinho eased some of the pressure on himself this afternoon with an ultimately comfortable 2-0 win over Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge.
Both of Chelsea’s two goals were somewhat fortuitous. A horrendous mix-up between Brad Guzan and Joleon Lescott allowed them to break the deadlock in the 34th minute, and Diego Costa’s shot deflected off Alan Hutton and past a helpless Guzan for the second just after the break.
Chelsea had gone into the game with just eight points from eight matches – making it their worst start to a season for 37 years. They will hope that this game marks a turning point.
Despite the positive result, Villa were the better side for the opening 30 minutes. Alan Hutton should have put them ahead but he slammed his shot straight at Begovic after getting the better of Baba, and moments later Gestede narrowly failed to on the end of a Kieran Richardson cross.
However, after Guzan’s error and Hutton’s own goal ruined Villa’s bright start it was one-way traffic. Willian, Fabregas, and Ramires all had good chances to add a third, and Villa increasingly look like a side that don’t belong at this level.
The result moves the Blues onto eleven points and into eleventh place. They are now five points behind Arsenal in fourth, and ten points behind leaders Manchester City. Tim Sherwood’s Aston Villa side stay in the bottom three, with just four points from nine matches. Only Sunderland and Newcastle are below them.
Next up for for Chelsea is a trip to Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League on Tuesday night, then they travel to West Ham United for a London derby next weekend. Aston Villa, meanwhile, will welcome Swansea City to Villa Park next Saturday afternoon.
Keep reading to find out how Chelsea’s players fared individually:
GK: Asmir Begovic – 7.5/10
Kept Chelsea in the game in the opening half an hour, but had little to do thereafter.
RB: Cesar Azpilicueta – 7/10
The debate about whether or not Azpilicueta is truly world-class won’t go away, but this was a solid performance.
CB: John Terry – 7.5/10
His usual commanding self. Dominant in the area at both ends of the pitch.
CB: Kurt Zouma – 7.5/10
Zouma’s pace is the perfect compliment to the ageing Terry’s positional awareness.
LB: Baba Rahman – 5/10
Was caught out of position a few times and was lucky not see his early errors lead to a Villa goal. Has to improve to make it at this level.