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Red-hot Costa continues scoring streak as Chelsea cruise


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Chelsea maintained their three-point lead at the top of the Premier League thanks to a comfortable win over third-placed Aston Villa.

Villa, who won at Anfield in their previous Premier League away game, fell behind just seven minutes into this encounter as Oscar followed in to convert from close range.

Chelsea were made to work to extend their advantage, but the source of their second goal came as little surprise as Diego Costa continued his red-hot scoring streak with a header on the hour mark.

And with ten minutes remaining, Willian netted a deserved third to rubber stamp Chelsea's superiority following a performance full of conviction and attacking flair.

In manager José Mourinho's 250th game as Blues boss, the hosts came into this game in buoyant mood after disposing of Bolton Wanderers in the League Cup on Wednesday evening, and Oscar, the match-winner on that occasion, was quick to follow in Willian's shot after it was palmed away by Villa keeper Brad Guzan.

gxNRbiM.jpgOscar threaded the ball beyond Guzan, still on the floor following that save, and Philipe Senderos, the former Arsenal defender, who was helpless to prevent the Blues taking an early lead. It was the Brazilian's second goal in as many games.

The Brazilian later combined to tee up Cesc Fabregas, whose drive was fiercely-struck but wayward, before compatriot Costa headed a superb cross from Willian straight into the hands of Guzan in what was the home side's best opportunity to extend the lead.

After the interval, Costa was again wasteful after good service from out wide - this time supplied by Branislav Ivanovic - as he failed to muster the requisite pace and direction to deceive Guzan.

But it was a case of "third time lucky" for the former Atletico Madrid man, as he got on the end of Spain team-mate Cesar Azpilicueta's cross to put Chelsea firmly in control with half-an-hour remaining.

Costa was instrumental in the third goal, also. After his excellent run produced a fine save out of Guzan, the ball fell to Willian who lashed home his first of the season to cap off an excellent individual performance.

Chelsea turn their attentions back to the Champions League with a midweek trip to Lisbon next on the agenda, before they entertain Arsenal at Stamford Bridge, and they will go into these games bolstered by the confidence of a morale-boosting - and much-needed - clean sheet.

Shut-outs have come at a premium for the Blues this season, no doubt a result of their devastating attacking performances, but this second clean sheet in three Premier League home games certainly highlights that Stamford Bridge has once again become the impregnable fortress it was in Mourinho's first spell.

Match Statistics, courtesy of Sky Sports


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