Frank Lampard’s Chelsea resumed their Premier League campaign with a 2-1 win over Aston Villa at the Villa Park on Sunday afternoon, thanks to second half goals from Christian Pulisic and Olivier Giroud.
The hosts entered the game in 19th place and deep in the midst of a relegation battle after losing four of their last six games.
The Blues started brightly and controlled possession throughout, without ever quite managing to create a clear cut opportunity.
The game drifted along with a set pattern of Chelsea slowly passing it around the Villa half, before the hosts bundled in the opener through Kortney Hause finish from a messy set-piece to punish the visitors.
The hosts took a surprising 1-0 lead into the break after spending much of the first half desperately defending against Chelsea.
60th minute, the Blues equalised. The away side were making constant inroads down the right and it paid off.
Azpilicueta found himself in space near the byline and swings in a perfect cross that whips past Mings and towards Pulisic, who crashed it into the net from close range.
Before Giroud made it two in quick succession. The Blues pushed forward eagerly after equalising and worked a wonderful move that culminated with Azpilicueta squaring a pass to Giroud, who took a touch before lashing a deflected shot beyond Nyland from 12 yards.
The result sees Chelsea strengthen their grip on fourth place by extending the gap between them and fifth-placed Manchester United to five points.
Aston Villa, meanwhile, remain in 19th and miss an opportunity to escape the relegation zone.