Chelsea 2-1 Aston Villa: key stats

stats

Possession (%):  69 | 31

Passes: 677 | 286

Accuracy (%): 88 | 69

Passes In Final Third: 175 | 100

Accuracy (%): 67 | 50

stats2

 

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Chelsea 2-0 Hull City: in pictures

The cameras were trained on Jose Mourinho for his first match back in charge of Chelsea. But for a full picture, enjoy the view of where I was, three rows behind the dugout. Included is 184 photos of the day’s events, from warm-up, key action and full-time.

 

Pre-Season Friendlies

Singha All-Stars 0-1 Chelsea (Wed 17 July, 14:00 BST)

Romelu Lukaku further cemented his claim to be Chelsea’s main man as the Belgian’s first-half penalty gave Jose Mourinho is first win since his second coming.

A trip by Kasonga on Wallace brought the spot-kick and with Lampard pulling out injured in the warm-up, Lukaku was determined to seize his opportunity with just over half an hour gone.

De Bruyne,one of only two players to play longer than 45 minutes, was enjoying the freedom of the playmaker role and it was his floating free-kick which nearly broke the deadlock, before Lukaku eventually pounced.

Hazard lit up the pitch before De Bruyne departed after a 78-minute workout, but it was disappointing to not see the defensive combination of Kalas and Terry, and then Ivanovic and Cahill, being tested further.

A goal, clean sheet, young players aplenty and lots of match action later, it was a confident start to the Mourinho Regime: Take Two.

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Malaysia XI 1-4 Chelsea (Sun 21 July, 14:45 BST)

Chelsea’s second match saw a much more convincing 4-1 win.

Traore opened the scoring whilst Lukaku and De Bruyne both grabbed a goal and assist, whilst Moses scored late on to make it four, before Fadhli scored a late consolation for Malaysia XI.

It was an assured match from the off. Lukaku looked to start the match as he left off from the opening game against Singha All-Stars, denied on several occasions. Triallist Bertrand Traore was intent on proving himself as a capable first-team player and his outing as Chelsea’s left-winger produced a tap-in within six minutes.

It was De Bruyne will the assist and he scored himself soon after thanks to a Lukaku flick-on. It was route one stuff from Cech and when Lukaku headed down to his compatriot, De Bruyne hit it smoothly on the half-volley. His landing was less smooth and had to be substituted. Feruz took his place for the 15 minutes left of the first-half.

And the 17-year-old made a positive contribution in his time, slotting a through-ball to Lukaku, who side-footed home.

The second half brought changes but the same 4-2-3-1 system. Ba was the main man, supported by Piazon, Schurrle and Moses, and it was the latter who seized the moment with a right-foot drilled shot with two minutes to go.

A late rally from Malaysia XI brought one goal back from a free-kick position. Cech saved the set-piece but Fadhli was fast enough for a flying header for the rebound. Ashley Cole then made a trademark goal-line clearance as Malaysia XI looked to score another consolation, but there was only going to be one winner.

BNI Indonesia All-Stars 1-8 Chelsea (Thu 25 July, 14:30 BST)

The style was turned on in front of an 80,000-strong crowd as Chelsea made their Indonesia debut with a thumping 8-1 victory.

Four goals in the first half was followed up with five by Chelsea players in the second, albeit one in the form of a consolatory own goal for the All-Stars team.

A slow start and slow end occurred as all the damage was done between the 20th and 70th minute. Hazard’s came first, a penalty after John Terry was squashed and felled. Hazard, with eyes firmly fixed on the keeper and not even looking at the ball, slotted it away effortlessly.

It was 2-0 eight minutes later as Ramires lashed home is first. The Brazilian also scored Chelsea’s seventh with similar power and precision.

Between Ramires’ brace came four more in 25 minutes. Ba profitted from a rebound off a Ramires shot, whilst Terry leapt highest as the half-time whistle was to be blown.

Bertrand Traore curled home a stunner in the pick of the goals whilst a minute later, Lukaku headed home Chelsea’s sixth.

The rout was completed with another Lukaku goal, this time a confident side-foot as Chelsea not head to America with a 100% win rate in Asia.

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Chelsea 2-0 Inter Milan (Fri 2 Aug, 01:00 BST)

Chelsea’s great pre-season run was extended in the States as Oscar and Hazard came up with the goods to see off Inter Milan.

Mourinho was welcomed with rapturous applause by the entire stadium as Inter Milan fans hold Mourinho in as overwhelming esteem as the Blues, but it was not all friendly on the pitch as Campagnaro was sent off for a disgraceful lunge on John Terry, who was lucky to escape without serious injuries.

That was just before the hour-mark, but the damage was already done before the half-hour point. A swift counter-attack by Moses found Oscar, who curled home in wonderful fashion. Hazard then scored from the spot after staring out Handanovic and rolling the ball into the opposite corner.

The youngsters seen in Asia made way for the returning party present at the Confederations Cup, as the likes of Mata and Luiz came on for some game-time and to see out the match.

AC Milan 0-2 Chelsea (Sun 4 Aug, 23:30 BST)

A two-nil against Inter Milan and now a two-nil win against AC Milan has seen Chelsea through to their first final of the season, and it is against Mourinho’s former club.

Goals from the attacking duo of De Bruyne and Schurrle secured Chelsea’s passage to the inaugural International Champions Cup 2013 Final, with Real Madrid’s coach Carlo Ancelotti also getting the chance to face his former club.

It was another tremendously convincing performance with goals and a solid back-line, as the Blues have only conceded two goals, whilst scoring 17, in the five pre-season games thus far.

Wonderful link-up play between Oscar and Hazard started the first goal and as the Belgian drove, he picked out his compatriot De Bruyne who side-footed home into Abbiati’s far corner, catching the Milan goalkeeper wrong-footed.

Despite the superior play throughout, the substitutions no doubt broke up some convincing play and it was only in injury time did we see the game’s next goal. Moses’ right-wing cross met Schurrle mid-air, as the German volleyed accurately home, to set up a mouth-watering clash against Real Madrid, and perhaps a curtain raiser for any Champions League meeting later in the campaign.

Chelsea 1-3 Real Madrid (Thu 8 Aug, 02:00 BST)

A Marcelo goal and a Ronaldo brace helped Real Madrid win the inaugural International Champions Cup, as Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea suffered their first loss in six pre-season matches thus far.

A Ramires equaliser moments after Marcelo’s opener was only a brief moment of joy as, despite some strong moments of play, Casillas stood firm and Ronaldo did what he did best, proudly gloating in Mourinho’s face in celebration afterwards.

A slow Chelsea start meant Marcelo’s daisy-cutter crept in with 13 minutes played, before Ramires’ finished off some wonderful team-play with an exquisite chip over Casillas, reminiscent of the Camp Nou goal in the Champions League-winning season.

Ronaldo’s bullet of a free-kick restored Madrid’s lead, but his arrogant celebratory taunt aimed at Mourinho seemed to fire up the Blues early in the second half. Chelsea beat the offside trap on more than one occasion, but Hazard found Casillas blocking his path.

It was another good Ronaldo goal — this time arriving late to power home a fantastic header — that saw Chelsea succumb to defeat.

AS Roma 1-2 Chelsea (Sun 11 Aug, 01:00 BST)

Lukaku bagged a late winner as Chelsea end pre-season on a high.

A calamitous mix-up at the back, where Schwarzer misjudged the bounce of Bertrand’s back-pass, led to Lamela striking home, but the match turned in the second half.

Where there was little inspiration for a goal in the first period, the likes of Hazard, Lampard and Ba reinvigorated the tired Chelsea side, who have jetted nearly 25,000 miles in an elaborate Asia and America double-tour.

Lampard, who missed the majority through injury, could provide fresh legs and equalised from 25 yards with a trademark long-range strike. The Roma defence ought to have been more aware of Lampard’s abilities after doing similar year after year, but afforded him too much space in a central position.

Lukaku had the bragging rights of the strikers however. Torres and Ba had a half each, but Lukaku only came on for Terry in the 78th minute, but produced the winner little over 10 minutes later, latching onto a positive Hazard win.

Six wins, one defeat, but no points. The real work starts a week today.

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Here is a table of the minutes played of each Chelsea player in this tour, courtesy of thechels.net:

Player Minutes Played
Gary Cahill 465
Ramires 448
Eden Hazard 433
John Terry 421
Branislav Ivanovic 414
Marco Van Ginkel 408
Ashley Cole 342
Victor Moses 315
Ryan Bertrand 288
Michael Essien 287
Petr Cech 270
Romelu Lukaku 256
Demba Ba 255
Kevin De Bruyne 245
Mark Schwarzer 225
Andre Schurrle 187
Oscar 180
Fernando Torres 149
Cesar Azpilicueta 143
Jamal Blackman 135
Wallace 135
Tomas Kalas 135
Nathaniel Chalobah 135
John Obi Mikel 116
Bertrand Traore 101
Lucas Piazon 99
Juan Mata 90
Frank Lampard 90
David Luiz 75
Josh McEachran 54
Islam Feruz 44

Post-Season Friendlies

Chelsea embarked on a post-season trip across the pond to cap off another remarkably unpredictable season. The visit to the US 10 months ago was the start of a new Chelsea era who were in the reckoning for seven trophies. In the end, the Blues managed to secure one they were never registered for during the last visit, but it was warmly paraded and welcomed by the strong US fanbase.

Chelsea 3-4 Manchester City (Fri 24 May, 01:30 BST)

It was Rafa Benitez’s farewell tour, having left the day-to-day London offices and a chance to enjoy America and before the interim first-team manager departs, he was determined to play some youth. With tired legs after an arduous 69-game season, the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Christensen were given starts, whilst Nathan Ake and Jamal Blackman were to come off the bench.

The Blues’ youthful look was matched with some experienced heads, and it was Ba’s head from which the first goal came. Juan Mata swung in the assist, with the Senegalese striker jumping ahead of Joe Hart.

Azpilicueta buried his penalty as the Spaniard was enjoying the freedom as the evening’s right-winger to record his first Chelsea goal. It was, again, Juan Mata in the thick of the action, causing Rekik to push his over inside the box.

Two became three nine minutes after the restart. Rekik was caught daydreaming and when Ramires pinched the ball, his compatriot Oscar set off and rounded Wright for the game’s third.

With the game seemingly safe, Blackman replaced Cech, but the young goalkeeper’s first action was to pick the ball out of the net twenty seconds after coming on. Javi Garcia struck firm and low.

Milner fed a delightful through-ball to Dzeko three minutes later as the Bosnian, who was a half-time substitute for Aguero, prodded home.

Blackman stood firm in the face of a thrilling City comeback, but Dzeko grabbed his second with a first-time side-foot, before Tevez and Richards combined for the crushing winner in the 91st minute.

Chelsea 3-5 Manchester City (Sat 25 May, 22:30 BST)

After the seven-goal thriller served up in Saint Louis, an eight-goal feast was on the menu for the expectant New York crowd. In part two between ‘Chelsea and Manchester City: Stateside’, it was once again the team in lighter blue coming out as the victors.

Chelsea had started so brightly played 45 hours before, but in a change of environment and with Brian Kidd adamant his side would not concede three without reply like in New York, it was City who started brighter, and a backpass by Oscar fell woefully short. Aguero’s shot was blocked by Hilario, playing his last game for Chelsea, but Barry was running in.

Nasri made it two with a delicate chip over the onrushing goalkeeper just shy of the half-hour mark in a first half City controlled.

Chelsea got back into the game 30 seconds after the restart after Ramires’ beat the offside trap and met Luiz’s astonishing pass, before rounding home past Richard Wright.

Milner’s low drive beat Cech as City restored their two-goal advantage but yet again Ramires’ replied, this time tapping in one yard out.

Nasri put the finishing touches on a wonderful City passage of play as the scoreline became 4-2, but Juan Mata set up a tense finale as his outstanding free-kick eight minutes from time hit the underside of the bar and in: Wright was motionless.

Mata free-kick

The hopes were dashed just two minutes later, however, as Dzeko’s long-range daisy-cutter evaded Cech as Benitez’s departs Chelsea with a loss.

 

 

Chelsea 2-1 Everton

Chelsea avoided a possible play-off and secured third place thanks to a Fernando Torres winner to send Rafael Benitez out on a high.

Juan Mata had given Chelsea the lead in the seventh minute, but Naismith levelled seven minutes later. With the score remaining 1-1 until the 75th minute, one eye was on the Arsenal game, but Chelsea were left to thank Torres’ short-range bullet to preserve May’s unbeaten record.

In truth, the game was near enough a dead-rubber. Everton has secured 6th place whilst Chelsea, in 3rd or 4th, had guaranteed a Champions League berth for next season. But you would have been forgiven for thinking this would have had the intensity of a training ground match. Far from it.

Everton had the desire to make sure David Moyes signed out with a victory, and, as bizarre as it may seem 47 matches later, it seemed Chelsea had some motives to part company with Benitez with three points also. The growing respect for the Spaniard, as so often the case, comes as he is about to leave, but not without a Europa League to his CV.

And though there was little to play for, both teams respected the Premier League until the end. Chelsea handed a first Premier League start to Nathan Ake, whilst Andreas Christiensen was involved with the first-team for the first time, being on the bench. Despite the youth, there was still experimental force. Ba and Torres were starting, albeit not as a partnership with the Spaniard as the right-winger.

And on the back of that Amsterdam win mid-week, there was a real jovial atmosphere around Stamford Bridge, which was reciprocated on the field of play. Demba Ba nearly broke the deadlock three minutes in but Distin stood his ground.

The warning signs were there and Chelsea did make them pay moments later. Ba’s shot this time was saved by Howard, but Mata was on hand to score his 20th of the season.

Steven Naismith had other ideas just as Chelsea fans were hoping for a comfortable win, capitalising on a David Luiz mistake and firing past Cech, as the game started in terrific fashion.

The tempo did not cease: Everton his the post twice in an end-to-end match, whilst Torres had opportunities. Ake was holding firm, just about, in the holding midfield role, whilst his defensive partner continued to show his capabilities on the back of that one-year contract extension, nearly doubling the host’s lead on the stroke of half-time after the game’s best passage of play.

Gary Cahill’s left-foot drive was well stopped by Howard’s two hands whilst Ba had all the time in the world to score, but found Distin in his way.

So too did Oscar become fearful of the menacing Everton central defender. One on one with the Frenchman, the Brazilian opted for the long-range daisy-cutter, rather than meeting Distin man-for-man. It was a lethargic effort but a tiring season, and no doubt the sheer size of Distin on Oscar dissuaded the Brazilian from trying to race the 35-year-old.

Jelavic had a glorious opportunity to give Everton the lead but his tame left-foot try was smothered by Cech, whilst Ivanovic could not work wonders with his right foot as he did with his head on Wednesday. The Serbian had plenty of space on the penalty spot to turn and shoot, but skied it high and wide.

Torres showed his how to score, however, just two minutes later. Ba had, by now, been substituted, and so the Spaniard took up the more advanced centre forward role. Ake’s slow build-up play eventually came to Moses’, who headed down for Torres to half-volley home past Howard’s near post: 2-1.

It was the former Liverpool striker’s first goal in the Premier League for over 19 and a half hours, time spanning back to the last calendar year, but it was the crucial winner as Chelsea end another turbulent season with joy.

 

Benfica 1-2 Chelsea

Chelsea became the first side in history to hold both the Champions League and Europa League trophies at the same time after a stoppage-time winner from Branislav Ivanovic.

Fernando Torres, who becomes the first ever player to win the Europa League, Champions League, World Cup and the European Championship, gave the Blues the lead just before the hour mark, before Cardozo levelled from the spot eight minutes later.

But the drama continued to the very last and like in Munich, it was another Juan Mata corner that had a telling say, with Ivanovic leaping highest to ensure Chelsea of another major European trophy.

It means now Chelsea have another shot at UEFA Super Cup glory, having been taught a lesson by Atletico Madrid and Falcao last time, with either Dortmund or Bayern Munich awaiting the lucrative tie in Prague at the end of August.

No side has ever won UEFA’s top two club competitions in reverse order in successive campaigns, and whilst it may be seen as inferior to the Champions League, there was no hiding the delight of another major trophy to get the hands of.

And where last year was Drogba’s final, this was Torres and Ivanovic’s, who played little or no part in the showpiece event in Munich 361 days ago.

It caps off a remarkable year for Chelsea, who were in the running for SEVEN trophies going into the season (Community Shield, Super Cup, Club World Cup, Premier League, League Cup, FA Cup and the Champions League), but it typifies Chelsea to do the unpredictable and win a trophy they were never in the hunt for.

Rafa Benitez can now sign off with a European trophy to his CV, as can Chelsea to its history books, but it was sheer horror for Benfica. The Portuguese side were firmly in the hunt for a treble just four days ago, but a stoppage-time defeat to Porto, and another last-gasp loss here, mean they may just end their campaign with a Portuguese Cup.

It was Benfica who, in actual fact, started the match better. Despite Chelsea having won their last five encounters with Portuguese opponents, the Blues only had 38% of the possession. Cardozo set the warning signs off just two minutes in when he had a free header, whilst Gaitan similarly had chances of his own.

Perez’s menacing run brought the game’s first card against Oscar for cynically stopping him, but it incentivised Chelsea to play better.

Mata’s shot was unconventionally punched away by Artur, whilst Lampard’s swerving long-range effort was destined for the goal, only for a fantastic, acrobatic stop by the Benfica keeper.

The pulsating action did not cease going into the second half. Chelsea were exploited down a weak right-hand side of Azpilicueta and Ramires, but neither Salvio or Cardozo could take full advantage despite some wonderful Benfica passing.

Just like Ribery had the ball in the net last year, Cardozo similarly had to in the 50th minute, but was similarly dismayed to see the offside flay, correctly, be raised.

Slowly Chelsea were getting back into the game and the first goal was a real gift.

Cech’s hopeful throw out was to the centre of the park and Mata’s vital flick-on found Torres. The Spaniard showed his strength to muscle out Luisao before showing his composure and skill to first dummy a shot, before finally pulling the trigger and giving Chelsea the advantage.

The striker has had an indifferent season in the league this campaign, but there can be no denying the man in Europe. Only Ronaldo (12) and Lewandowski (10) have scored more goals than Fernando Torres (9) in Europe this season.

The lead did not last long as Azpilicueta stopped the ball with his hand as Chelsea conceded their sixth penalty in Europe this season, two more than any other side in the Europa League or Champions League. Cardozo slammed home from the spot, as Cech could not repeat his Munich heroics.

Cardozo nearly bagged a brace when the ball dropped kindly at his feet, and his half-volley drew the best out of Cech, who tipped it over with his fingertips.

Lampard, running sideways, nearly won it for the Blues as his 30 yard strike cannoned off the crossbar; it deserved to go in.

The Blues have actually won 63% of their European ties that have not involved John Terry compared to 47% when he has played, but there can be no denying his presence in the box at corners. Fear not when there is Cahill or Ivanovic, and the latter scored in the 93rd minute, powerfully planting the ball into the far corner as Benfica were shell-shocked.

There was still work to be done as Cardozo failed to get the ball out of his feet before Cahill smoothered, but by then, we were already well past the three minutes officially added on, and a new trophy is Chelsea’s.

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Aston Villa 1-2 Chelsea

Frank Lampard became Chelsea’s all-time top scorer as his brace as good as seals Champions League qualification for next season.

The veteran midfielder equalised, after Christian Benteke had opened the scoring, with a thumping left-foot drive, and his winner, one minute from time, was his trademark late run into the box and a simple tap-in that brought, finally, goal number 203.

It means Lampard is now outright top scorer, overtaking Bobby Tambling. And because of his double, Chelsea are all-but guaranteed a top-four league finish due to the goal different superiority over Tottenham (+35 to +18).

The Blues would not have wanted it to be dragged out to the last match of the season, which will be David Moyes’ goodbye match at Everton, and now full concentrations can go to the Europa League match mid-week.

Chelsea are unbeaten in their past six Premier League matches, but against a relegation-threatened Aston Villa side, it was always going to be a tough call.

The reverse fixture earlier this season saw Chelsea set a new Premier League record for the most number of different scorers (7) in a match, but the goals would not be flowing in this time. Even though the West Midlands side have not kept a clean sheet in their last 20 league matches, the attacking prowess of Benteke and Agbonlahor would always test a shaky Chelsea, who let a lead slip against Tottenham mid-week. The Blues have, in actual fact, only won 23% of the last 70 games played away to Aston Villa, and with Villa looking to win 3 league matches in a row for the first time in three years, the match would go right down to the wire.

And it was The Claret And Blue side that started the better of the two, rewarded with a goal inside the first quarter of an hour. Benteke was allowed tons of room to run down the left-side after a misplaced Cahill pass, and his shot crept inside the near post of Cech to give the hosts a shock opener. Benteke is now the third-highest scorer this calendar year in Europe’s top five leagues, behind only Messi and Ronaldo.

The European Champions have scored 141 goals in 66 matches this season — the club record is 142 goals set in 2009-10 — but the record-equalling goal proved elusive.

Guzan was stopping Ba, Mata and a Lampard free-kick, and matters were made worse when Ramires needlessly picked up two yellow cards in the space of 28 minutes. The Brazilian was eventually shown his marching orders for a high foot, as the uphill battle was getting away from Chelsea.

Luiz replaced the ineffective Moses as Benitez looked to make up for the lost holding midfielder, and this gave Lampard licence to roam, whilst Luiz was composed in the defensive role.

Villa had more chances than Chelsea to score the game’s next goal, but the turning point once again was to be another second yellow card, this time for Benteke, who was again sent off for a high boot. Lee Mason showed the respected consistency.

10 versus 10 allowed Chelsea to not be so defensive and that brought the game’s first goal. Lampard scored Chelsea’s 142nd goal of the season, as well as his 202nd, in a double record-breaking move. Hazard played the ball to Lampard, and the midfielder, with his back to goal, showed a striker’s instinct by swinging around and unleashing an unstoppable left-foot strike, to record his 14th league goal of the season on his 550th Premier League appearance.

Team accomplishments always outweigh personal achievements, as showed with Lampard’s subdued celebration, as Chelsea had the best part of half an hour to score a winner.

Ba looked to have that when Cahill’s strike was stopped by Villa on the line, and Ba looked to get the vital touch that took the whole of the ball over the whole of the line, but with the incident over in a matter of milliseconds, neither Lee Mason nor the linesman could be certain it was a goal.

John Terry suffered an ankle injury on his 550th start for Chelsea in all competitions today, and whilst it would have been nice for him to be on the pitch to celebrate Lampard’s record-breaking goal, it was a phenomenal moment to see Lampard get it wearing the captain’s armband.

Hazard’s one-two with Cole penetrated the back-line and the Belgian then squared to the onrushing Lampard, to tap home his 203rd goal for Chelsea, his 165th in the Premier League, and the 999th in the Premier League this season. It means Lampard has now scored more goals versus Aston Villa than any other side in his Premier League career (13).

Aston Villa surged in the seven minutes of added time but there was no erasing Lampard’s contribution to a fine game, capped off in remarkable style. His brace means Champions League football next season. Whether he gets to savour in his and his team’s achievement next season remains to be seen.