Lukaku returns with a bang, inspire Chelsea to Villa defeat

Arsenal host Chelsea in London

Forward Romelu Lukaku scored as Chelsea got back on track in Sunday’s Premier League title race with a 3-1 away win over Aston Villa.

Thomas Tuchel’s side had won in their previous four Premier League games, but Chelsea turned the tide on Sunday by coming back from behind to claim an important victory over Villa.

Defender Reece James scored on his own to give Villa the advantage midway through the first half, but Chelsea midfielder Jorginho equalised the scores from the penalty spot soon after. Lukaku came off the bench at halftime and made his presence known, nodding in the 56th minute. Jorginho scored another penalty in stoppage time after Lukaku was knocked down in the box.

Villa took advantage of the better chances in the opening stages, forward Ollie Watkins descending the left-wing and entering the penalty area on several occasions, but he was unable to take advantage of it.

The initial pressure from the home side paid off as they took the lead with a home goal from James in the 28th minute. Villa defender Matt Targett delivered a cross but deflected James’ header and passed Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho equalised the scores from the penalty spot in the 34th minute after striker Callum Hudson-Odoi was knocked down in the box by opposing defender Matthew Cash.

Lukaku’s involvement proved to make the difference, putting his team in the lead with a diving header into the far corner following a floating cross from Hudson-Odoi.

Midfielder Mason Mount missed a glorious opportunity to extend Chelsea’s lead when he passed goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez but couldn’t find the back of the net empty.

Lukaku ran behind Villa’s backline in stoppage time before winning Chelsea’s second penalty of the game when he was knocked down by Ezri Konsa, allowing Jorginho to return home.

“I needed a performance like this,” said Lukaku, “It was hard to get [on at] the end of the games. I continued to work hard. I am happy with my performance and I must continue ”, he added.

The former Manchester United and Inter Milan striker said Chelsea remain in the race to catch the leaders, City.

“We are the hunters now. The last results weren’t the best and now we have to keep going. We have to treat every game as a final. Today we have won and now we must continue, ”he said.