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Chelsea title hopes on as Romelu Lukaku offers Aston Villa a turn

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Chelsea title hopes on as Romelu Lukaku offers Aston Villa a turn

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Chelsea signed Romelu Lukaku to make a difference in the title race – and here’s proof he can still make a revealing impact on the campaign.

Only the fullness of time will tell us how significant these three points of Villa Park were for Thomas Tuchel’s ambitions. For now, he’s kept his team in the race, with Lukaku’s introduction at half-time being the turning point.

Nine points behind Manchester City at kick-off, without the £ 97.5million striker’s headed goal followed by his run that saw Jorginho convert, it could have been another costly addition to Chelsea’s December crisis.

Defending champions Pep Guardiola are in the kind of relentless form that crushes the minds of title rivals to the point where they stop becoming worthy of the name. And dragging that nine-point City side – even at this relatively early stage in the campaign – would have left Tuchel with an unlikely, if not impossible, task for the New Year.

Given Chelsea’s form in a race that saw them go from first to third, there is no guarantee that another slip will not happen in Brighton’s hands on Wednesday, but Lukaku provided a source of hope much needed for 2022.

That’s why Chelsea made him signing their club record this summer – because he would make a difference in those close games that can go either way.

How his absence has been felt as points have been lost to Burnley, West Ham, Everton and Wolves in recent weeks. In this 3-1 against Villa, he showed them precisely what they were lacking.

Lukaku has yet to produce something like the form that pulled Inter Milan to the Italian title last season – but in that kind of mood he gave a tantalizing glimpse of what he could add to this Chelsea side. .

His goal, 11 minutes into the game, was a masterclass of movement in the box that mercilessly exposed Tyrone Mings.

Leaving the English defender, he hid in plain sight before coming back in front of him to pass Emi Martinez.

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