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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
23 December 2012
• Stamford Bridge, London
Referee: P. Dowd
• Attendance: 41363
Fernando Torres 3'
David Luiz 29'
B. Ivanović 34'
F. Lampard 59'
Ramires 75', 90'+
E. Hazard 83'
Blimey! It's a day to forget for Aston Villa, who took their festive generosity too far by letting Chelsea score eight without reply. Paul Lambert's young side were up against it as soon as Torres gave the hosts a third minute lead. It was a matter of how many from that point and Benitez's side duly filled their Christmas stockings!
FULL-TIME: Chelsea 8-0 Aston Villa
90' + 1'
90' + 1'
GOAL! This is getting ridiculous! Eight for Chelsea this evening and surely that's Villa's torture over. Ramires grabbed his second of the game after coming on as a second half substitute, his side footed effort from the edge of the area sailed past Guzan, who couldn't have expected the shot.
Three minutes to be added on at the end of the match.
Penalty saveBradley Guzan
Missed PenaltyLucas Piazon
PENALTY SAVED! Guzan gets a strong hand on Piazon's well struck spot kick to keep it at seven. Unlucky for the Chelsea player who would have loved to grab a goal on his Premier League debut.
PENALTY TO CHELSEA! Piazon is felled in the box as Chelsea casually knock the ball about and Phil Dowd offers Villa no sympathy!
Think Chelsea might be settling on seven! The impetus is slowly trickling away from the Blues performance. Oscar finds the side netting as we edge closer to the final whistle.
GOAL! Eden Hazard gets in on the act to claim the host's seventh! It's a sublime finish smashed into the top corner after some dazzling footwork from the Belgian. He's been heavily involved this afternoon and thoroughly deserves to be on the score sheet.
Jordan Nathaniel Bowery
GOAL! It's six of the best for Chelsea! Oscar emphatically converts the penalty into the top corner leaving Guzan with no chance, piling further misery on to the hapless visitors.
PENALTY TO CHELSEA! Chris Herd makes a clumsy challenge on Oscar inside the box to hand the hosts a very soft penalty.
GOAL! Ramires makes it five for the Blues by slotting the ball through Brad Guzan's legs after being expertly thread through by Lucas Piazon. What an introduction for the two substitutes!
Villa get away with one as Azpilicueta cuts back inside after racing down the right flank only to be blocked off by Herd. Surprisingly the referee doesn't award Chelsea the decision. Mata, meanwhile, is given a rest and promising young starlet Lucas Piazon gets some first team minutes.
It's party time at Stamford Bridge as Hazard rolls out some fancy footwork to bamboozle the Villa defence.
Chance for five! Oscar spurns the opportunity to net his first Premier League goal moments after coming on for Torres. The substitute fired his across goal and wide of the far post after being thread through by Mata.
Decent opening for Villa as Ireland dinks a pass over the Chelsea defence for Lichaj to run on to but the Villa defender can't beat the ball to the byline.
David Luiz seems to have found his element in midfield. The Brazilian has looked more assured today than I can ever remember him being in a Chelsea shirt.
Off the bar! Weimann has Villa's best chance of the afternoon, but his shot from a tight angle is pushed on to the bar by Petr Cech, his first significant save of the match.
Chelsea are cutting through Villa like a knife through butter here. This could get very, very nasty for Paul Lambert's young side.
Greg Stobart reports from Stamford Bridge: "‘Sign him up’ sing the Chelsea fans to a man after Frank Lampard is replaced by Ramires. The crowd are making it very clear that they want the club to extend the iconic midfielder’s contract here."
GOAL! It's a special moment at the Bridge as Frank Lampard drives one into the bottom corner from outside the box! 'Super Frank!' rings around the stadium in honour of Chelsea midfielder on his 500th league start. Chelsea four up!
Torres thinks he has his second of the evening as he turns in the rebound after Guzan initially saved his close range header, but the flag goes up for offside.
Chelsea are piling forward on the counterattack at every chance they get. Torres was played into the box twice but delivered awkward crosses on his left side on both occasions.
Chance! It's brilliant defending from Cahill to deny Benteke, who was in position to turn home Weimann's cross. The defender threw his body in the way to stop the striker from getting the all important touch.
Corner for Chelsea as Torres' effort from the edge of the area is deflected out. Mata finds Lampard with a deep delivery and the England midfielder makes a decent connection with his first time volley but never really threatened the Villa goal.
Great save! Mata is denied by a super stop from Guzan! Torres flicked the ball out for Moses, whose deflected cross fell into the path of Juan Mata but the Spaniards close range effort was brilliantly palmed over the bar by the Villa keeper.
Benteke mistimes his run and his caught offside once again as Barry Bannan threads a cute ball in behind Azpilicueta for the Belgian.
Fernando Torres finds space straight away in the second half but his touch is poor and allows Herd to get back at him. He looks a million miles away from the forlorn figure we became used to seeing at Chelsea.
Aston Villa take the kick-off and we are underway in the second half.
15 days away from the hustle and bustle of the Premier League, you would have been forgiven if you thought the Blues would feel their way into the match. Instead, it took only three minutes before Torres put Chelsea on their way to arguably their most impressive 45 minutes of the season. The hosts are in complete control, Lambert needs to find some inspiration during the break.
HALF-TIME: Chelsea 3-0 Aston Villa
Rare bit of action for Petr Cech as he comes off his line to grasp a loose ball, greeted with ironic cheers from the home crowd. Moments later, David Luiz runs the width of the pitch and slides in majestically to win a tackle. sums up his first half, impressive.
Free kick for the visitors from a wide area. Bannan delivers left-footed from the left flank into the box but Cahill gets up early to clear the danger.
Not Benteke's best game so far. Villa have a great opening to claw their way back into the game but the Belgium international is needlessly offside when Westwood picks him out in the final third.
Goal.com's Greg Stobart reports from Stamford Bridge: "All smiles from Rafa Benitez and the rest of the Chelsea dugout as the Blues establish a three-goal cushion. Villa lost 7-1 here in 2010 and if they aren’t careful could be in danger of going down to a similar scoreline this afternoon. Chelsea have been ruthless in front of goal so far in the first-half and you sense the visitors could fall apart if they don’t settle down soon."
David Luiz is really in the mood! The Brazilian has another pop at goal from the edge of the area but doesn't quite the the same purchase as he did with his earlier strike.
GOAL! Ivanovic makes it three! Villa are in all sorts of mess here. Mata's corner was met by Cahill's header and Guzan did well to keep it out, but the American shot-stopper could only parry it into the path of the Serbian defender, who gratefully nodded home.
Mata has a shot deflected out for a corner before Villa get away with what looked like a back pass. Baker passed the ball back to Guzan, but the referee waved play on.
GOAL! What a goal! It's thunderbolt strike from David Luiz! The Brazilian, liberated by his new advanced role, stepped up and thumped a free kick over the ball and into the top corner in Ronaldo-esque fashion. Stonker!
Mata tries to slip the ball to Hazard, but Herd is penalised for a late challenge. Free kick for Chelsea 25 yards from goal.
Goal.com's Greg Stobart reports from Stamford Bridge: "Paul Lambert has certainly been the livelier of the two manager on the touchline in the first quarter of the game, constantly on the edge of his technical area either berating his players or in the ear of fourth official Anthony Taylor. The atmosphere so far has been above par for a game at Stamford Bridge, but it’s gone rather flat on the pitch after that flying start from the hosts."
Penalty shout! Torres looks at the referee quizzically, as Baker climbs all over the Spaniard as he tried to meet Cole's cross into the box. Nothing given.
Now the Villa fans show their support for Stilian Petrov, the Villans' skipper still recovering from acute leukemia.
Brilliant play. Mata breaks forward down the right flank before exchanging passes with David Luiz and breaking into the box. The Spaniard's first touch inside the box is a little sloppy though, allowing Guzman to come out and smother.
'There's only one Di Matteo' - again rings around Stamford Bridge, but it's far from the hostile reception Benitez received on arrival. He just might be winning a few of the Blues' fans over.
Westwood sprays another ball long for Weimann who does well to hold the play up and bring his team-mates into the game. Lambert's men enjoy a spell of possession but Ivanovic eventually sees of Benteke as tries to get a shot away at goal.
David Luiz has made a decent start to his midfield adventure. He's been snapping at the heels of the Villa midfielders, most recently dispossessing Barry Bannan as the Scot looked to move the visitors forward.
Moses takes a couple of silky touches before volleying a cross into the area, unfortunately none of the Chelsea players gambled on the Nigerian's delivery and the chance goes begging.
Paul Lambert is screaming instructions out from the touchline as he tries to settle his young Villa side down here. Westwood looks for Benteke with a floating ball over the top and finds the Belgian only for the offside flag to scupper the move.
That makes it seven goals in his last six games for Torres, safe to say the Rafa Benitez effect is working.
GOAL! Fernando Torres gives Chelsea an early lead and it's a fantastic header from the Spaniard. Azpilicueta swung the ball in early from the right-side and Torres rose above Clark to power home his header at the near post from just inside the box.
Chelsea take the kick-off and we are underway!
Right the teams are emerging from the tunnel and we are moments away from kick-off.
Benitez explains his midfield selection to Sky Sports before kick-off: "I think that David Luiz in midfield is a good option. He is good in the air, he can use both feet, he is quick and he can finish. He is a good player for us."
It's another milestone for Chelsea's Frank Lampard today as he makes his 500th Premier League start.
Cast your minds back to last season and you might remember Alex McLeish's Villa side recording a famous victory at Stamford Bridge, almost a year to the day. That was probably the highlight of the Scot's forgetful tenure. Can the Villans back up their win at Anfield with another shock away win? As ever, hit us up on Twitter with your thoughts @GoalUK
So as mentioned earlier, David Luiz plays in midfield for the Blues this afternoon. Benitez tested the Brazilian out in that position against Monterrey in Japan last week and by all accounts the former Benfica man was impressive. Will it work? Who knows. One things for sure, it will make for fascinating viewing!
The visitors, meanwhile, name an unchanged starting XI from the 3-1 win at Anfield last weekend. One change on the bench for Paul Lambert, though, Charles N'Zogbia makes way for Stephen Ireland.
Rafa Benitez makes three changes to the side which dumped Leeds out of the Capital One Cup midweek. Ashley Cole, Gary Cahill and Eden Hazard return to the starting line-up, with Ryan Bertrand, Oscar and Marko Marin all dropping to the bench. David Luiz plays in midfield for the first time in the Premier League.
TEAM NEWS: Aston Villa (4-5-1): Guzan, Lowton, Baker, Clark, Lichaj, Holman, Westwood, Bannan, Herd, Weimann, Benteke. Subs: Given, Bowery, El Ahmadi, Ireland, Bennett, Delph, Albrighton.
TEAM NEWS: Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Cole, Azpilcueta, Luiz, Lampard, Mata, Hazard, Moses, Torres. Subs: Turnbull, Ramires, Oscar, Ferreira, Marin, Piazon, Ake.
Early chance for Frank Lampard to mark his 500th Premier League start with a goal but his shot from a free kick about 20 yards out is hit straight into the wall.
Good afternoon ladies and gents! Welcome to Goal.com's play-by-play coverage of Chelsea v Aston Villa from Stamford Bridge LIVE!
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