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CHELSEA v Aston Villa: Preview

Date: Monday 28th December 2020

Venue: Stamford Bridge

Kick-off: 17:30 GMT

As Boxing Day games go, let’s just forget this year’s.

Just 48 hours after our last game, we’re at Stamford Bridge this evening, to take on Aston Villa. Maybe not a fixture we’d ordinarily cringe at but right now, we’d probably lack confidence in a game against a Sunday League side. Aston Villa, are as far away from Sunday League as it gets in their current run of form which sees them above us in the table despite playing 2 less games.

As for us, despite a decent run before the Everton game, that knocked the stuffing out of our sails and we’ve now lost three of our last four. Naturally, Lampard is coming under fire from the press and ‘supporters’ alike, which really isn’t an unusual situation for Chelsea, although you’d have thought the passing of 15 years and football moving on somewhat, might have dispelled the ‘money buys success’ myth. Besides, we’ve had injuries, Covid, players settling into new teams in new leagues and, like every other club throwing up unexpected performances and results, we’ve had an odd season with even odder fixtures. Irrespective of price tags, players are human – as are managers.

Of course, Frank will know himself, there’s some responsibility to be taken. He hasn’t always got it right but as with every other time things go pear-shaped at Chelsea, he’ll get all of the heat whilst the players will be safe in the knowledge their salaries won’t come to an abrupt end, however badly they perform.

Will they have enough about them to perform today though? I’m not convinced.

MANAGER’S VIEWS

Let’s be fair, the managers have barely had time to pass wind nevermind pass comment ahead of this game but after the Arsenal game, Chelsea manager Frank Lampard, said “You can’t lack energy and desire in the Premier League and we did. You can prepare as well as you want but if you turn up like that, that’s another thing. It’s in the mind. If you perform below par things go against you.

The teams that win, win, win relentlessly weren’t winning two or three years ago. We are not there yet, that’s clear. I felt it when we are on our long unbeaten run and I feel it now. We got a lot wrong today.”

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith no doubt whilst rubbing his hands and grinning his face off, says Chelsea have got some very good players with their acquisitions in the summer. We need to be at our best. We know what we’re coming up against, a top-four team in the Premier League. We’ve got to be ready and ready to compete. We’ll see less with the ball but we’ve got to make sure when we win it back we use it very well.”

SQUAD NEWS

For Chelsea, you’d have to expect some changes but I still wouldn’t expect Hakim Ziyech (thigh) to be risked in our starting XI. Callum Hudson-Odoi, on the other hand, should get a game, whilst James and Chilwell might both find themselves rested.

For Aston Villa, Trezeguet (hamstring) and Wesley (knee) remain out, Ross Barkley is ineligible against us and Tyrone Mings is suspended.

TEAMS

CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Mendy; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Silva, Emerson; Kante, Jorginho, Havertz; Pulisic, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi

ASTON VILLA (Possible line-up): Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Hause, Taylor; Luiz, Nakamba; Traore, Grealish, El Ghazi; Watkins

LAST SEASON

Chelsea 2-1 Aston Villa (4th December 2019)

CURRENT FORM (PL)

CHELSEA: DWLLWL

ASTON VILLA: LLWDWW

OTHER STUFF

  • Chelsea have won 10 of their last 11 Premier League matches against Aston Villa.
  • Villa have not won at Stamford Bridge since December 2011.
  • Chelsea have lost three of their last four Premier League matches.
  • Aston Villa have won eight of their opening 13 Premier League fixtures
  • Chelsea are unbeaten in six home games, winning four and drawing two.
  • Villa’s only away league loss came at West Ham on 30 November, winning all five of their other games on the road.
  • Chelsea have not lost their final Premier League match of a calendar year since 2011, ironically, to Villa.
  • Villa have recorded an unrivalled eight league clean sheets this season.
  • Villa have gone four successive Premier League games without conceding for the first time since February 2010.

PREDICTION

Sportsmole: Chelsea 2-2 Aston Villa

90mins: Chelsea 2-2 Aston Villa

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