Tammy Abraham, back in the side and back among the goals, was on target against the club where he was top scorer on loan last season to give Frank Lampard’s team the lead midway through the first half, Reece James providing the assist, and although the visitors from Villa Park equalised before half-time thanks to a fortuitous finish by Trezeguet, the Chelsea winner was smashed in early in the second half.

That goal came off the boot of Mason Mount – his fifth goal of the season and first for his club for two months. From that point on the Blues worked hard for a third goal and were looking more like the attacking force of earlier in the season but without a sharp cutting edge.

A Willian free-kick was saved onto the woodwork by Aston Villa keeper Tom Heaton to leave the game in the balance but despite a couple of scrambles inside yhr penalty area close to the end and Kepa having to make a sharp save, Chelsea survived to bag all three points and maintain a six-point lead over the team in fifth in the Premier League table.

Chelsea were however turning the screw and midway through the half the Aston Villa defence cracked. The game had not quite gone Abraham’s way up to that point. He had swung and missed at a couple of loose balls in the opposition penalty area, but he made no mistake when Reece James’s chipped-in ball from deep landed on his head 10 yards from goal. 1-0. His 12th of the campaign.

Not long after Abraham was back at the other end clearing a corner at the near post. That sprung a Blues counter-attack which floundered when our centre-forward’s squared pass did not make it as far as Pulisic who was waiting to shoot.

A Willian cross was deflected across the mouth of the goal but somehow did not end up in the net and the Brazilian had a thunderous shot on the run saved.

The Chelsea moves were good but without the final pass or finishing touch to give the cushion of a two-goal lead.

Mount had a go from distance with a typically sweet strike which was deflected behind for a corner and then Abraham, played in by a clever Willian pass, floated a shot just beyond the far post.

With the 90 minutes almost up, Kepa made a save low down at the foot of his post in front of the hopeful Villa fans and when he caught a cross in the final seconds, the points were safe.