Match Report: Chelsea's festive binge returns the feelgood factor to the Bridge

Chelsea 8 Aston Villa 0

Stamford Bridge

What a timely return to lavish home comfort this was for Chelsea. After the trauma of their autumn, this gluttonous win was precisely what they wanted for Christmas.

There was a real sense of homecoming at Stamford Bridge last night, and not just because – owing to the Club World Cup – this was their first Premier League game for more than a fortnight. With this big victory it felt as if the old riotous abundance, the ease, the confidence and the success which used to define Chelsea's home league games had returned, in greater portions than almost ever before.

This was the biggest league win since Chelsea beat Wigan by the same scoreline in May 2010. And, like any festive binge, it was almost an uncomfortable experience at the end. There was no prospect whatsoever of any Christmas charity as Villa looked callow and out of place and were handed their worst ever defeat.

Chelsea were once formidable at Stamford Bridge. They were unbeaten here in the league between February 2004 and October 2008. But that had slipped in recent years. Last night's rout was a throwback.

The first goal of eight, from Fernando Torres, was Chelsea's first here in the Premier League since Remembrance Sunday, six weeks ago. Even that came in a 1-1 draw with Liverpool. This, bizarrely, was their first home league win for 11 weeks, when they beat Norwich City 4-1, with 10 games of Roberto Di Matteo's reign left to run.

There were the customary chants for Di Matteo yesterday but none of "We want our Chelsea back" – that wish having seemingly been fulfilled on the pitch. It barely seems worth noting that this was the best performance of the Rafael Benitez era.

In the first half it was clinical and efficient, the three goals all gifted by Paul Lambert's young and inexperienced side. But Chelsea, with weeks of frustration within them, punished Villa in the second half. Rather than preserving their energy ahead of a busy Christmas programme, Chelsea – inspired by the substitutes Ramires, Oscar and Lucas Piazon – scored four in the final 15 minutes, and even found time to miss a penalty kick too.

The imbalance between the teams was clear after two minutes. Lambert understandably kept the same team that won 3-1 at Liverpool last weekend but it is still ambitious to field a back three aged 21, 23 and 23 years old. Lambert's trust in his players is admirable but trust is a risk.

Cesar Azpilicueta swung in a cross from the right. Ciaran Clark and Chris Herd each thought that Torres belonged to the other. Torres ran through, jumped and headed the ball perfectly beyond Brad Guzan into the far top corner.

The surprise, given what followed, is that Chelsea were not even playing particularly assertively in the first half. David Luiz and Frank Lampard were in midfield but they were happy to allow Villa, purposeful but imprecise, to give them the ball back. At this stage Villa's main problems could be put down to over-enthusiasm.

Herd needlessly clattered into Eden Hazard from behind after 29 minutes. The free-kick was taken by Luiz who, with that instep whip, fired the ball over the wall, down and into the net. Benitez said on Friday that Luiz is more free to express himself from midfield and this was the peak of an afternoon of imaginative and technical excellence.

It was as well taken as the first goal but was a chance that an experienced defence should not concede. And so was the third goal, five minutes later. Juan Mata's corner fell to Gary Cahill who spun and shot. Guzan saved and Branislav Ivanovic, unmarked, headed in.

Villa, at the interval, could look at one skewed Barry Bannan shot as the extent of their threat. They might have rearranged at half-time but Lambert could not exactly bring in experienced defenders, having only 22-year-old Joe Bennett in that position on the bench.

So there was no change, just more of the same. It might have worked, had Chelsea been in the mood for seasonal goodwill. But they certainly were not, and when Guzan had to save well from Lampard, Torres and Victor Moses at the start of the second half, it was clear this was going to get harder.

The fourth, the last before the deluge, came from Lampard. Chesting the ball down 25 yards from goal, he let it bounce twice before striking it perfectly into the far bottom corner. He was taken off two minutes later to the sound of the fans imploring the club to offer him a new contract.

Roman Abramovich, though, might just point to Chelsea's improvement after Lampard went off. It was the introduction of three Brazilian midfielders, Ramires, Oscar and Piazon, which brought the punishing next four goals.

Piazon, with his first touches in the Premier League, played in Ramires, who ran forward and scored Chelsea's fifth. Three minutes later, Piazon found Oscar, who was pulled over by Herd and got up to finish the resultant penalty.

Five minutes after that Oscar supplied Hazard, who shuffled into space and thundered the ball into the top corner.

There was still time for Piazon to win a penalty only to see it well saved by Guzan, who performed as nobly as any goalkeeper who concedes so many can.

But, in added time, the American let in the eighth, as Ramires exchanged passes with Oscar before finishing high and hard.

Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly finalists Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge
tvLive: Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge face-off in the final
Sport
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture