Chelsea 8-0 Aston Villa: Torres sparks Blues goal glut
London: Rafa Benitez made his mark as manager as the hosts blew Paul Lambert`s men away, with Frank Lampard and David Luiz among the goals and Ramires at the double in a rampant victory
Chelsea made the perfect start to the festive period with a sensational 8-0 home win over Aston Villa to move into the Premier League top four.
Fernando Torres gave Rafa Benitez`s men a flying start with a stunning third-minute header before a David Luiz free kick and Branislav Ivanovic header made sure the points were safe before half-time.
Two goals from Ramires and strikes from Frank Lampard, Oscar and Eden Hazard completed the emphatic scoreline after the break as the Blues matched their best-ever Premier League result to move up to third in the table.
While this Christmas present came been gift-wrapped from Villa, Chelsea were scintillating in their attacking purpose and deadly finishing - and could have had more had Lucas Piazon not been denied from the spot late on.
The biggest roar of the day was reserved for Lampard, who celebrated his 500th Premier League appearance with a wonderful goal struck from 30 yards in the 59th minute.
The midfielder`s contract expires at the end of the season and the crowd made their feelings clear to Roman Abramovich, singing "sign him up" after Lampard overtook Bobby Tambling`s club record of 129 league goals.
Benitez made three changes to the side that beat Leeds in the Capital One Cup, with Luiz pushed into midfield in place of Oscar, while Paul Lambert picked the same line-up that won at Liverpool.
With Daniel Sturridge on the brink of a move to Liverpool and continuing talk that the Blues will launch January move for Radamel Falcao, Torres wasted no time in pushing his case to be the main man at Stamford Bridge with a goal that harked back to the halcyon days of his time at Liverpool.
Right-back Cesar Azpilcueta whipped in a cross from the right and the £50 million man timed his header perfectly, twisting his neck to plant it magnificently into the top corner from 16 yards.
Torres` seventh league goal of the season immediately settled any nerves around the stadium and in the 29th minute they were given a two-goal cushion.
Villa defender Chris Herd brought Hazard down 25 yards from goal and Luiz stepped up to slam an unstoppable, dipping free kick over the wall and into the top corner.
Six minutes later, the result was put beyond doubt as the Villa defence fell asleep from a corner.
Gary Cahill was allowed to turn and shoot in the box and, after Brad Guzan`s brilliant save, Ivanovic was quickest to react and nodded home a simple header.
The Blues continued to press after the break and could have scored far more were it not for Guzan's heroics, the Villa keeper denying Juan Mata and Victor Moses superbly after the break.
He could do nothing, however, about Chelsea's 59th-minute fourth. It was classic Lampard, a drilled half-volley from 30 yards that skipped off the turf and planted in the bottom corner of the Villa net.
At the other end, Petr Cech was a virtual spectator but kept his concentration to divert Andreas Weimann's shot on to the crossbar.
Chelsea's pressure, though, was relentless. Fifteen minutes from time, substitute Lucas Piazon slipped in Ramires, who drilled his finish through Guzan's legs.
Referee Phil Dowd then awarded a penalty after Herd brought Oscar down in the box. The playmaker stepped up himself to sweep the spot kick into the top corner.
Seven minutes from time, Hazard added the seventh with a sensational finish into the top corner from 10 yards before Piazon missed the opportunity to make it eight as Guzan saved the Blues' second penalty.
It was perhaps not a fitting end to the day for the youngster on his league debut but Ramires soon added the final touch with a placed finish from the edge of the box, sealing the perfect Christmas gift for Chelsea fans on their last home game of the year.