Premier League Preview: Chelsea v Aston Villa

They play host to Aston Villa in their final game of 2020 and the former England man is expected to make changes.

Full back pair Reece James and Ben Chilwell are both back in action after their injuries were not as bad as first feared.

But Kai Havertz and Jorginho could return to the starting team in place of Mateo Kovacic and Timo Werner.

Villa have enjoyed a much better festive period than their hosts in this one with back-to-back 3-0 wins over West Brom and Crystal Palace.

That run of results means he’s likely to make less changes than Lampard, with the suspended Tyrone Mings the only absentee, with United States international Ezri Konsa set to step in.

And this one gets going at 5.30pm at Stamford Bridge on December 28th.

Premier League Preview: Arsenal v Chelsea

The Gunners host local rivals Chelsea on Boxing Day and defeat could see them slide right down into the drop zone.

But it’s not all bad news for the Spanish coach ahead of this tie, with club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s return offering a welcome boost.

Swiss international Granit Xhaka is also back for this one but whether or not that’s a good thing remains a conundrum for Arteta.

As for Chelsea, Frank Lampard’s side looked back to their slick best against West Ham and he could go for a largely unchanged line up.

The only real issue for him appears to be at full back with Reece James and Ben Chilwell both out.

Skipper Cesar Azpilicueta is set to keep his place as James’ replacement on the right with Emerson drafted in to cover at left back.

And it’s all good to go under the Tier 4 lights at 5.30pm on Boxing Day at the Emirates Stadium.

Abraham scores twice on Chelsea return to down Hammers

Tammy Abraham scored twice on his return to the Chelsea starting line up as Chelsea bagged all three points in a London derby that stops Frank Lampards “Blues Blip” becoming a full-blown crisis.

Abraham’s brace was the icing on the cake in a match which saw Chelsea withstand some continuous West Ham pressure after Thiago Silva had put them ahead in the 10 minutes.

Thiago was the star at both ends of the pitch with a strong performance seeing off the ariel threat of West Hams big men as the Hammers gained confidence after conceding the early goal.

West Ham had a few promising moments but lacked a little quality and failed to create any real clear-cut chances throughout the game.

Frank Lampard started the game without Reece James, out with an injury and he was soon joined by Ben Chillwell early on who went off with an ankle problem but it was another defender in Silva who got the early plaudits after pulling away from the attentions of Aaron Cresswell and heading home from near the penalty spot to the left of Lucas Fabianski.

West Ham tried to find a reply but David Moyes decision to reinstall Mark Nobel to the starting line up creating a defensive looking midfield 3 of Tomas Soucek, Declan Rice and the club captain left Sebastian Haller isolated alone upfront.

The visitors did have their moments with Jared Bowen denied a goal on the half-hour mark and a Silva block on a Soucek shot seemingly preventing a goal a few minutes later and Chelsea held their lead into the break.

West Ham remained on the front foot in the second half, but Edouard Mendy had yet to be tested by the hour mark with the returning Cesar Azpilicueta producing a superb block to deny Pablo Fornals.

With the game fizzling out it wasn’t until the 78th minute that Chelsea wrapped things up: Timo Werner cut inside and tried his luck with a poor shot but Tammy Abraham found himself in the right place at the right time to tap home for 2-0.

Two minutes later it was 3-0 when Pulisic led the Chelsea attack and while he was denied from Mount’s cross by Fabianski, who claimed he was fouled in the build-up. Abraham was there again to tap home and take his tally for the night to two.

After a five-game drought, the 23-year-old was back on the scoresheet and rewarded the decision by Lampard to bring him back in the team for his first league start of the month.

Chelsea are now up to 5th in the Premier League ahead of their boxing day clash at Arsenal whilst West Ham have now lost two on the bounce and host Brighton next time out.

Everton returning to winning ways with 1-0 victory over Chelsea

Gylfi Sigurdsson’s early penalty proved the difference between the two sides as Carlo Ancelotti’s Toffees picked up their first win this month.

Neither side created anything resembling an opportunity in opening quarter of an hour before Sigurdsson buried the game’s first meaningful chance.

Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy fumbled a long ball from Jordan Pickford and in his rash attempts to reclaim possession he barged Dominic Calvert-Lewin over inside the box.

Referee Jon Moss had no hesitation pointing to the spot and Sigurdsson casually tucked home.

Lampard’s side did look to sting themselves back into action before the break as Pickford superbly tipped Reece James free kick against the post and Mason Mount curled over.

Ancelotti’s side did edge back into it after the restart as Richarlison forced a smart stop from Mendy.

But the hosts were to be left incensed on 64 minutes as VAR denied them a second spot kick.

Moss again pointed to the spot as Ben Chilwell dragged down Calvert-Lewin but our friends at Stockley Park dragged it all the back for offside against the England striker.

That meant Chelsea still had a chance to preserve their unbeaten run late on but Lampard knew his luck was out on Merseyside as Mount’s whipped free kick bounced back off the upright.

Full Time at Goodison Park it’s Everton 1 Chelsea 0

Chelsea cruise to 3-1 Premier League win over Leeds United

An impressive performance from Frank Lampard’s side keeps them firmly in the title race thanks to goals from Olivier Giroud, Kurt Zouma and Christian Pulisic.

Despite the final result, it was the visitors that started the brightest, as former Blues forward Patrick Bamford bagged his eight goal of the season.

Kalvin Phillips’ pass caught the Chelsea backline out of position and Bamford kept his cool to tuck past Edouard Mendy.

Chelsea did look to quickly react to that setback as Timo Werner’s deflected onto the bar and Illan Meslier denied Mason Mount.

But the with the traffic all heading in one direction, Giroud hauled the Blues level on the half hour mark.

Reece James delivered a perfect ball into the box and the Frenchman got across his man to finish at the front post.

Both sides showed plenty of drive after the restart with vital missed chances at either end as Raphinha tested Mendy and Werner brought a brilliant stop from Meslier.

But the Blues didn’t have to wait much longer for a second as Zouma escapes his marker to power home Mount’s corner.

That goal seemed to edge the final stages for Chelsea as Meslier was called into action again to deny Giroud and Werner.

And Lampard’s side finally snatched that all important third goal in added time as Captain America Pulisic slid home from Werner’s pull back.

Full Time at Stamford Bridge it’s Chelsea 3 Leeds United 1

James and Giroud enjoy International milestones

Reece James and Olivier Giroud might be on the same wavelength at Stamford Bridge, but their respective international careers are poles apart.

It’s been an exciting week for Reece James and his family, with the 20-year-old earning his first England call up.

Ironically, James’ call up was down to the misbehaviour of some of his clubmates, whose withdrawal from the England camp due to a breach of coronavirus protocol left gaps in Gareth Southgate’s squad.

A surprise birthday party for Blues teammate Tammy Abraham was deemed to have been against Covid-19 guidelines, with Chelsea defender Ben Chilwell also attending and having to self-isolate along with Abraham and Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho.

Step up Reece James, who earned his first England cap off the bench in Thursday’s 3-0 win over Wales at Wembley to mark the start of a fledgling international career.

Fellow Chelsea man Olivier Giroud meanwhile earned his 100th cap for France on Wednesday night in a 7-1 crushing of Ukraine in Paris.

Not only did the striker reach the century of senior international appearances, but he also marked it with a brace.

The 34-year-old may well be steps ahead of Reece James in terms of experience, but his swivelling left-footed strike fizzed past the goalkeeper and rippled the Ukraine net for his first goal, a strike more resemblant of someone 15-years his junior.

The evergreen hitman’s double takes him to 42 goals for Les Blues, just 9 behind Thierry Henry in the all-time French goalscoring charts.

And with Giroud still looking fresh as a daisy, you’d back him to beat that tally – just as you’d back Reece James to continue his pathway to a long and successful career, much like the Frenchman.

Brighton 1-3 Chelsea: New look Blues take chance to beat Brighton.

Captain Jorginho slotted a typically cool penalty, full-back James lashed a top-corner thunderbolt and impressive centre-back Zouma profited from a deflection in the Blues’ comfortable opening weekend win.

Despite not grabbing a debut goal, German striker Timo Werner proved the pick of the new arrivals, causing havoc with his stunning pace and incisive running lines and it was he who caught Maty Ryan by surprise by latching onto Jorginho’s through ball into the area, and Brighton’s keeper left himself with little option but to check the German’s run and give away a Penalty.

Jorginho won whatever argument there was for the spot-kick and duly converted via his trademark stepped run-up.

Depsite flashes of excellence and a consitant threat much of Chelseas performance was punctuated by miscued balls and mistimed runs and Graham Potter’s men made them pay for that sloppness on the 54th minute when Trossard’s dipping effort evaded Kepa in goal – which will do little to dilute the questions around the long term future of the Spanish keeper at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea reacted quickly however and Reece James lashed an eye catching shot into the top corner of the Brighton goal just 2mins later.

Lewis Dunk should have punished Chelsea again but could only nod wide from four yards out when totally unmarked at the back post and it was left to Chelsea to take the spoiles with a heavily deflected Kurt Zouma shot finding the back of the Brighton net and handing Lampard a winning start to the season.