Thomas Tuchel went early with a crucial change after substitute Romelu Lukaku notched the matchwinner just 10 minutes after coming on versus Aston Villa.
Aston Villa were without John McGinn and Ashley Young to face Chelsea. Danny Ings and Morgan Sanson came in for Steven Gerrard’s side, with the manager absent after contracting Covid-19. Jorginho and Callum Hudson-Odoi replaced Hakim Ziyech and Cesar Azpilicueta, who dropped to the bench for the visitors.
Thiago Silva once again proved his worth when preventing an almost certain goal in the 11th minute. Ollie Watkins broke free down the left and sought Danny Ings through the middle with his cut-back.
The classy figure of Silva was perfectly positioned, however, getting a foot in to prevent an Ings tap-in.
Mason Mount then came close to scoring a goal of the season contender. The midfielder cut inside near the corner of the box before curling a sublime effort onto the crossbar.
With the two sides struggling to carve out clear-cut chances, the deadlock was broken in the most unlikely of circumstances.
Reece James attempted to intercept a Matt Targett cross, but his header only succeeded in lofting the ball over the despairing Edouard Mendy as Villa took the lead via an own goal.
🗣 “Aston Villa get a bit of luck…”
Targett whips a pacey ball into the #CFC box. James is near post, no Villa man around him, but it skims off his head and over Mendy! 😮
📺 Watch live on Sky Sports PL
📲 #AVLCHE blog 👉 https://t.co/SdcdnD8pem pic.twitter.com/EZot7nPN3h
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 26, 2021
That sparked Chelsea into life and within minutes, the visitors were level.
Callum Hudson-Odoi nipped in ahead of Matty Cash before drawing a foul in the penalty area. Jorginho stepped up and sent Emiliano Martinez the wrong way to restore parity.
Villa looked on course to re-take the lead after Morgan Sanson played Watkins through. However, the quick reactions of Mendy proved crucial with the goalkeeper racing off his line to intercept the pass a split second before Watkins could latch on.
Tuchel changes the game for Chelsea
Thomas Tuchel introduced Romelu Lukaku to the action at…