Chelsea Club Focus - Torres fires Blues to victory
Fernando Torres scored his first Premier League in six months as Chelsea beat Aston Villa 4-2 in what turned out to be a highly entertaining game in Birmingham.
Chelsea were looking for revenge after they were comprehensively between 3-1 at home by Villa on the last day of 2011. Stiliyan Petrov scored in that victory at Stamford Bridge and this time around the Bulgarian was being celebrated in a very different way. Petrov was diagnosed with acute leukaemia on Friday but was brave enough to watch the game at Villa Park and was emotional when he got a rapturous reception.
But aside from that there was a football match that both sides were desperate to win for different reasons. Villa wanted to get a win for their ill Captain and the Blues felt like that had to win to keep up the heat on Tottenham in that final Champions League place.
And it looked like it was the visitors who had settled quickest and swiftly took the lead through a well taken Daniel Sturridge goal.
Villa’s home form this season has been wretched having only won four games at Villa Park all season and it seemed this would continue as Chelsea doubled their lead. Juan Mata crossed and Branislav Ivanovic stuck out a leg to stab home and double the visitors lead.
You would be forgiven for thinking Villa would capitulate, but whether it was team spirit or the will to send their Captain in the stands home with three points, the hosts began to fight back.
First James Collins rose highest to head home to give the home side hope then Eric Lichaj completed an unlikely comeback by firing home at the far post after Marc Albrighton’s inviting cross.
But Di Matteo’s men clearly hadn’t read the script and took the lead again just three minutes later. A corner was whipped in and after Torres’s flick-on; Ivanovic was on-hand to fire the visitors back in front once again.
And as Villa pushed for another equaliser, Torres did what Torres used to do best and made the hosts pay on the counter attack. Sturridge broke and played the Spaniard in and without a second thought he fired low in to the far corner to round off a perfect day for him.
But it is not all good news for the West Londoners. Although Arsenal dropped points against QPR on Saturday, both Newcastle and Tottenham secured victories meaning that the Toon are now level on points with Chelsea and the Blues remain five points adrift of their London rivals.
There is also some injury news coming out of Stamford Bridge that will worry Di Matteo and Chelsea fans alike. Defender David Luiz was forced off just before half-time during the Aston Villa game with an ankle ligament injury. The Brazilian will now be assessed but is a doubt for Wednesday night’s Champions League crunch second leg against Benfica.
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