Chelsea weren't dominant, but they did enough to defeat Aston Villa comfortably on Saturday afternoon in London. Diego Costa and Own Goal both found the back of the net for the Blues, as Chelsea managed to win 2-0 against Tim Sherwood and his struggling Aston Villa side.
With any luck, the victory was the start of a good run of form for Chelsea, who have some tricky fixtures between now and the next international break. Chelsea's next match, away against Dynamo Kiev, certainly qualifies as one of those, but for now, here are some thoughts following a somewhat unusual victory:
- Having a nice, low-stress second half was a very welcome change of pace. So was winning, for that matter.
- I was surprised to see Ruben Loftus-Cheek used more as a #10 than as a central midfielder in this one, especially with Cesc Fabregas on the pitch at the same time. That's not how I'd have deployed them, but it wasn't terrible.
- Speaking of Loftus-Cheek, I thought he looked pretty good for the most part. Some of his decisions on where to play the ball need some serious improvement, but that should come with more time on the pitch, assuming he doesn't take the Jack Wilshere/Ross Barkley development path.
- I'm not against seeing Eden Hazard get a rest every now and then, but I really hope this isn't an extended stay in the doghouse. Poor form or not, the Blues really need him on the pitch.
- It took Diego Costa almost a full match to get back to his usual, provocative self. The FA just can't cage the beast, apparently.
- Chelsea looked just as vulnerable to attacks from the wings as they have for most of the season during the first half. Maybe the problem isn't just Branislav Ivanovic after all.
- Speaking of which, Chelsea's midfield did a nice job of supporting the fullbacks during the second half. It's a start...