*As Newcastle damage Sheffield’s European ambitions
Chelsea boosted their hopes of Champions League football next season by coming from a goal down on their return to Premier League action to beat Aston Villa 2-1 at Villa Park.
After dominating the majority of the first half, Frank Lampard’s side found themselves trailing at the interval when, firmly against the run of play, Kortney Hause tapped home from close range in the 43rd minute to send Villa into the break with a shock lead.
However, the visitors responded with two quickfire goals, as strikes from substitute Christian Pulisic (60) and Olivier Giroud (62) completed the turnaround to secure all three points, reports Sky Sports.
The victory could prove crucial for the fourth-placed Blues, who move five points clear of Manchester United and Wolves in fifth and sixth respectively, in the race for a top-four finish.
Meanwhile, the defeat is another blow to Aston Villa’s chances of staying in the top-flight. Dean Smith’s side remain in the relegation zone, one point adrift of safety.
Earlier, Newcastle dented Sheffield United’s bid to qualify for the Champions League as Joelinton scored his first Premier League goal since August in a 3-0 victory on Sunday.
Steve Bruce’s side made the most after Blades defender John Egan’s second half dismissal at empty St James’ Park.
Allan Saint-Maximin broke the deadlock moments after Egan’s second booking. Matt Ritchie doubled Newcastle’s lead.
With the visitors in disarray, much-maligned Brazilian striker Joelinton ended his wretched run with his first goal in the league since he netted the winner at Tottenham on August 25.
It was only Joelinton’s fourth goal of the season and will offer hope he could still live up to the fanfare that followed his £40 million ($44 million) move from Hoffenheim last year.
Aston Villa 1 – 2 Chelsea
Newcastle 3 – 0 Sheffield Utd