Latest Match Results: Christian Pulisic scored soon after coming off the bench and Olivier Giroud added another goal two minutes later as Chelsea rallied to beat Aston Villa 2-1 and strengthen its hold on fourth place in the Premier League on Sunday.
Pulisic entered in the 55th minute for his first appearance for Chelsea since Jan. 1 and the United States winger netted within five minutes, lunging forward to convert the ball in off the crossbar from close range.
Cesar Azpilicueta provided that cross for Pulisic and the right back popped up on the left to set up Giroud for the second, with the striker swiveling and sending a deflected shot into the net from 10 meters.
Giroud scored for the sixth straight league game against Villa.
Chelsea had enjoyed most of the possession in a one-sided game at an empty Villa Park, yet fell behind in the 43rd minute when Villa defender Kortney Hause scored at the second attempt, following a cross into the penalty area, for his first Premier League goal.
Villa stayed in next-to-last place, but only a point from safety, while Chelsea moved five points clear of fifth-place Manchester United and sixth-place Wolverhampton in the race for Champions League qualification.
Before soccer’s three-month shutdown because of the coronavirus outbreak, Chelsea had won only two of its previous seven games to see the gap over United shrink to three points.
Pulisic and Giroud have not been regular starters this season in Frank Lampard’s first season as manager and there will be more competition for them next season following the signings of winger Hakim Ziyech and striker Timo Werner for more than $100 million.