Chelsea hosted third placed Aston Villa and put in another strong performance to claim all three points at Stamford Bridge.
Costa lead the line after being rested in Wednesday’s league cup win against Bolton, and added to his impressive goal tally. His header from an Azpilicueta cross on 58 minutes was powerful and well directed.
Before this Oscar had given us the lead in the first half. Ivanovic found Willian down the right hand side, he got to the goal line just inside the area and crossed low and hard, Guzan in the Villa goal intervened, but the ball bounced straight back to Willian, who cut back low to Oscar, who, unmarked in the box, turned the ball home.
The opener came on 7 minutes. Villa had started reasonably well, imposing themselves on us and enjoying possession in the opening five minutes. They got into the final third without really creating any clear-cut chances, but all to soon for them they were behind. That was to be about as good as it got for them, as Chelsea began to dictate possession. Villa sat deeper as the half went on and we moved the ball around well. Good defensive work forced us to move the ball side to side, with Hazard and Oscar occasionally popping up in the centre between the lines and linking well. Matic and Fabregas provided options deeper in midfield throughout the match, continued possession being returned to them as we tried to find an opening. The Aston Villa midfield sat deeper as we kept the ball, which meant there was always space for them to get on the ball and start another move. Fabregas dragged a shot wide on the half hour as he found the ball on the edge of the box, and Costa headed straight at Guzan three minutes later.
The second half began as the first had ended, with Chelsea in the ascendancy, and it would continue this way. Costa headed straight at Guzan, but two minutes later his next header was to good for the keeper. Nice play down the left resulted in a lovely one-touch triangle between Hazard, Willian and Azpilicueta before his cross was powerfully converted by Costa. At 2-0 Chelsea were comfortable.
A swift attacking interchanged saw the ball break to Oscar, but his shot was cleared off the line.
A high percentage of possession was retained without creating a lot of chances, but this was a comfortable win. Confident on the ball, Chelsea moved it round the midfield well, Matic winning the ball in the middle and distributing it forward all afternoon. It was his header from a set piece just wide on 75 minutes that nearly made it three; it wouldn’t be much longer until it was. Costa ran at the defence before shooting, Guzan saved but the ball found it’s way to Willian via a defender and he tapped home for 3-0.
We remain three points clear of Southampton who beat Queens Park Rangers at home. Chelsea now face Sporting Lisbon away on Tuesday before playing Arsenal at Stamford Bridge next Sunday.
Coutois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry ©, Azpilicueta;
Matic, Fabregas; Willian, Oscar, (Mikel 77), Hazard, (Schurrle 68); Costa, (Remy 80).