Giroud's hot streak against Villa continues as Chelsea win on Premier League return

Goal.com

Olivier Giroud's hot streak against Aston Villa continued as Chelsea secured a win on their return to Premier League action.

The Blues picked up their first away victory of 2020 by beating Villa 2-1 in their own backyard on Saturday afternoon.

Frank Lampard's side moved to within three points of third-placed Leicester City as a result, while opening up a five-point lead over Champions League qualification rivals Manchester United.

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Chelsea dominated the first half at Villa Park, but were made to pay for a lack of cutting edge when Kortney Hause bundled home the opener for the hosts in the 43rd minute.

Dean Smith's side weren't able to hold onto their lead for very long, however, as substitute Christian Pulisic stabbed into the roof of the net from close range right on the hour mark.

The Blues found themselves in front just two minutes later when Giroud showed off his predatory instincts to spin in the box and fire past Orjan Nyland in the Villa net - albeit with the help of a slight deflection.

That strike marked the World Cup winner's fourth goal of the season, and justified Lampard's decision to start him over top scorer Tammy Abraham.

Giroud has now found the back of the net in each of his last six outings against Villa, but his latest strike was his first for Chelsea against the West Midlands outfit.

The 33-year-old hadn't featured against Villa since scoring a hat-trick for Arsenal in a 4-0 win way back in May 2016.

Chelsea will now look ahead to a huge meeting with reigning champions Manchester City on Thursday, which comes just three days before another vital encounter away at Leicester.

Prior to the Blues win at Villa, former Stamford Bridge favourite Joe Cole expressed his belief that Lampard will lead his old club to a top-four finish after an "unbelievable" first year at the helm.

Cole told 90min: "The future's looking bright, you know, credit to the club for appointing Frank at the start of the season. It was a bold decision and credit to Frank, I think he's been unbelievable, his staff as well."

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