The scoreboard may have read 3-0 as the referee blew his final whistle at Stamford Bridge tonight, but it was hardly that comfortable for Chelsea against an excellent Aston Villa side who certainly came to play, especially in the first half. In fact, were it not for a string of excellent saves from Édouard Mendy and several crucial blocks from Thiago Silva, the outcome might have indeed been very different.
“It was absolutely not [a comfortable evening]. It was a strong Aston Villa side. They were well prepared, they looked very sharp from the start and very confident.
“They caused us a lot of problems, particularly in the first half. They’re dangerous from throw-ins, set-pieces and corners, and gave us many situations you have to defend. That’s not our favourite discipline, but we did what we had to do. The second half was better, we had more control. There were a lot of half chances that we didn’t take very well.”
But at the end of the day, the scoreboard is the only thing that matters, and Chelsea certainly did enough to earn the victory. Romelu Lukaku made both of his chances count, Mateo Kovačić produced an at-times virtuoso display on the ball in midfield, and the defense may have bent but never broke. We scored at the perfect times, and had much more control of proceedings in the second 45 as well.
“We played with some of the guys in a new formation. We were not at our highest level. We had some early ball losses because they played very aggressive in the last line. If we had better first touches and better movement, perhaps we could have had more chances. But credit to them, they played a very good match.
“It was a super dangerous game for teams who have so many players out on international duty. It was a strange feeling before the match. I hoped the first goal could give us some more confidence, but it didn’t.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Sky via BBC
Some might say that these are the sorts of wins that title challenges are built on. You can’t expect the team to keep firing on all cylinders every time, especially on the back of an international break disruption. Getting three points in these situations makes everything easier.
“In the second half we forced them into early ball losses and had a high transition game at least. In the end we have a perfect result. We want to control more of course, but it was the moment to fight through and that is what we did.
“It’s an excellent start given the fact we had a draw in Liverpool with a man down. We play like a team, we have a certain energy, we’re able to win games. We want to give less chances away. If it happens we don’t lose our heads.
“Everyone’s aware we can do better. There are some reasons why games can look like this. If you’re still able to win 3-0, it’s a good way to progress.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: BBC
Three points, three goals, and far from perfect. Not a bad day at all in the end.
Onwards and upwards!