Aston Villa host Chelsea this weekend with both sides desperately seeking points, the hosts mired in the bottom three whilst the visitors continue their push towards Champions League qualification.
Here is all you need to know about Saturday’s clash at Villa Park:
Aston Villa: LLLLW
Aston Villa‘s spirited Carabao Cup final defeat was sandwiched between two disappointing Premier League losses, last Monday’s thrashing at Leicester making it four consecutive defeats for Dean Smith’s side.
Results elsewhere have seen Villa drop to 19th and two points adrift of safety, and results must improve quickly if the club are to avoid a swift return to the second tier.
Villa face top-six opponents in each of their next four fixtures and must find a way to put points on the board, the Midlands side having conceded more goals than any other side this season and continuing to be over-reliant on the influence of Jack Grealish.
Frank Lampard’s Blues remain in the driving seat to secure a top four finish and Champions League qualification, delivering arguably their best performance of the season to beat in-form Everton 4-0 at Stamford Bridge last time out.
Teenager Billy Gilmour’s emergence has proven timely in the absence of midfield stars N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho, whilst Ross Barkley produced his best display in a Chelsea shirt against his former side last weekend.
Chelsea’s form remains inconsistent, however, with the club only eighth in the division based on the results of their past eight fixtures. Manchester United‘s recent resurgence meaning there is little margin for error for Lampard’s Lads, who will hope to take advantage of Villa’s woes this weekend.
Chelsea 2-1 Aston Villa, 4th December 2019
Chelsea bounced back from successive defeats to Manchester City and West Ham with a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge in December, Tammy Abraham scoring against the side he helped fire to promotion whilst on-loan at Villa Park last season.
Trezeguet equalised for Dean Smith’s side just before half-time after bundling home Ahmed Elmohamaday’s cross, only for Mason Mount to restore Chelsea’s advantage with a fine volley early in the second period.
Frank Lampard’s side closed out an important victory after a difficult week of results, a deserved three points following a dominant performance over the visitors.
Predicted Line ups
Aston Villa: Reina; Elmohamady, Guilbert, Engels, Mings, Targett; Nakamba, Luiz; Grealish, El Ghazi, Samatta
Chelsea: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Zouma, Alonso; Gilmour, Barkley, Mount; Willian, Pedro, Giroud
Who is the referee?
How can I watch Aston Villa v Chelsea?
UK readers can watch the game on Sky Sports Main Event whilst US fans can view the fixture on NBCSN.
What time is kick off?
Aston Villa – 4/1
Draw – 10/3
Chelsea – 3/5