EPL

Chelsea 3-0 Aston Villa: Lukaku ends home hoodoo in Chelsea landmark win

By Sports Desk September 11, 2021

Romelu Lukaku banished his Stamford Bridge blues as his deadly double helped Chelsea to a 3-0 win over Aston Villa, their 600th Premier League victory.

The striker made the most of a Mateo Kovacic throughball to net the 15th-minute opening goal, and a blunder from Tyrone Mings allowed Kovacic to clip in the second soon after the break. Lukaku struck a sublime third in stoppage time.

Lukaku had not scored at Chelsea's home ground in 14 previous appearances, including 11 Premier League games, comprising those from his previous spell with the west London club and subsequent stints at Everton and Manchester United.

He made his Chelsea debut in August 2011 but did not establish himself with the club in his first spell; however, a different narrative is playing out second time around, with Lukaku 10 years older and lightyears more lethal at this level.

Manchester United are the only other team in Premier League history to have racked up at least 600 wins, and Lukaku put Chelsea on course to join them in the 15th minute. The £97.5million recruit from Inter sprinted behind the Villa defence before cutting back on his right foot as Axel Tuanzebe closed in and firing low beyond Jed Steer.

Villa carried a threat of their own and almost forced a leveller three minutes later when Ollie Watkins charged forward and rifled towards the bottom-left corner, only for Edouard Mendy to produce an excellent low save, tipping the ball wide. Watkins also failed to convert a clear chance when his shot was blocked by Thiago Silva as Chelsea's defence looked shaky.

Mendy again came to Chelsea's rescue in the 32nd minute when he dealt superbly with a Mings howitzer before palming away a mis-hit attempt on the rebound from Ezri Konsa.

Konsa had earlier made a goal-saving intervention on the line when a corner from Callum Hudson-Odoi swung in and needed to be deflected away off the crossbar.

Kovacic put Chelsea two goals clear in the 48th minute when England defender Mings' short backpass was seized on, a first-time finish into the left corner giving the hosts a cushion.

From that point, Chelsea began to look comfortable, Marcos Alonso and Kovacic trying to no avail to extend their lead. Lukaku showed the way in the dying moments, blasting the ball into the top-left corner from just inside the penalty area.

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    Gary Neville claims Harry Kane is playing as though someone pooped his party after the Tottenham star drew a fifth successive blank in the Premier League.

    The England skipper had not experienced such a league goals drought since August 2016, and his loss of form follows a turbulent period in his career when he looked set to leave Spurs.

    Kane appeared destined for a move to Manchester City, but that transfer did not materialise as the Premier League champions could not prise him from the north London club's clutches.

    He had five goal attempts in Sunday's 3-1 derby defeat to Arsenal but could not find a way past Aaron Ramsdale.

    "He doesn't look happy," Neville said.

    Pointing to Tottenham's 3-0 defeat to Chelsea in their previous game, Neville said: "Last week was a risk, I thought, shoving him out on the left wing. He was out on the left wing last week.

    "Today I thought he did play higher, to be fair, but the balls played up to him were just long punts in the first 20 minutes.

    "Harry doesn't look himself in terms of his body language. He looks like he's still carrying over the situation from over the summer.

    "He could still have had two or three goals today and a penalty, so there's still a contribution, but he's just not himself. Neither is Son [Heung-min].

    "Son and him look like they've had their balloons burst at a party as a kid. That's what it looks like."

    Neville said Spurs have "good senior pros" in their ranks, as he sought an explanation for why their form has nosedived since starting the league campaign with three straight wins.

    Rough losses to Crystal Palace, Chelsea and now Arsenal have seen them plummet from the top of the league and into mid-table.

    Nuno Espirito Santo may have a big job on his hands in turning Spurs back into a winning side, and Neville suspects some players are pining for a coach in the mould of former boss Mauricio Pochettino.

    "Those players to me look like they want a high-pressing, Pochettino-style coach that plays out from the back and gets the centre-backs on the six-yard line, rather than one that sits behind the ball and counter-attacks," former Manchester United captain Neville said on Sky Sports.

    With the derby defeat, Nuno became the first Spurs boss to lose as many as four times in his opening 10 fixtures since Glenn Hoddle in 2001.

    Kane attempted just four passes in the first half at Emirates Stadium and was successful with only five of his 11 passes across the 90 minutes.

    He has also failed to get a goal in back-to-back games against Arsenal for the first time in his Tottenham career.

    Former Spurs captain Ledley King said of his old team-mate: "He cares, but there's no doubt he's out of shape at the moment. He's out of form. He's a big part for the club so when he's not playing well we struggle."

  • Nuno takes responsibility for Tottenham capitulation in north London derby Nuno takes responsibility for Tottenham capitulation in north London derby

    Tottenham head coach Nuno Espirito Santo took responsibility for his side's damaging 3-1 defeat to Arsenal in the north London derby.

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    "I'm going to be honest. When you have a game plan, you have to make the right decisions in terms of who you want to put on the pitch to develop that game plan.

    "I take responsibility because the decisions were not right according to the game plan. I won't name individuals but the game plan was not right according to the players who were on the pitch.

    "We were not aggressive enough to control the dynamic of Arsenal in midfield. We suffered when we wanted to go in front and we allowed Arsenal to always come to us. By saying that, bad decisions."

    Nuno started with a three in midfield but took Dele Alli off at half-time. Alli completed the five passes he attempted in Arsenal's half, but only managed 24 touches in total as he failed to have a shot or create a chance, while Tanguy Ndombele was similarly ineffective going forward.

    Harry Kane struggled again, though his tally of five attempts more than doubled the total amount he had managed across his other four Premier League appearances so far this season.

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    Spurs have now conceded three goals in their last three league games for the first time since September 2003.

  • Arteta wants Arsenal consistency after derby day joy Arteta wants Arsenal consistency after derby day joy

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    Goals from Emile Smith Rowe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka put Arsenal in a commanding 3-0 lead at half-time.

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    Arteta added: "I'm pretty worried because it doesn't look very positive at the moment."

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