(Watch Highlights) Lukaku marks his Stamford Bridge return with brace to flatten hard-fighting Aston Villa (Match Report)

Romelu Lukaku marked his return to Stamford Bridge with two goals as Chelsea beat Aston Villa 3-0 to go level at the top of the Premier League.

Aston Villa pushed Chelsea all the way but fell to a hard-fought 3-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge.

A frantic start to proceedings saw both sides create openings inside the early exchanges, the hosts going closest when Callum Hudson-Odoi’s inswinging corner in the ninth minute looked goalbound before Konsa directed on to the crossbar and away.

Dean Smith’s side gave as good as they got against the Champions League and Super Cup champions but were undone by goals in either half from Romelu Lukaku and Mateo Kovacic, before the former added his second of the evening in injury time.

The Belgian, who was sent clear by Kovacic’s inch-perfect throughball, cut inside Axel Tuanzebe before slotting home.

Lukaku broke clear to slot home Kovacic’s throughball in the 15th minute, before the Croatia international capitalised on a defensive mix-up early in the second half to double the hosts’ advantage.

Chelsea’s club-record summer signing Lukaku then drilled a third into the top corner from the edge of the area in the 93rd minute to add a cruel reflection on the scoreline for battling Villa.

The visitors forced Edouard Mendy into a series of fine saves throughout, with Ollie Watkins, Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa among those denied by the Blues goalkeeper.

The reverse leaves Villa with just one victory in their last 17 league visits to Stamford Bridge stretching back to 2002.