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Premier League

  • December 24, 2012
  • • 00:00
  • • Stamford Bridge, London
  • Referee: P. Dowd
  • • Attendance: 41363
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Chelsea - Aston Villa Preview: Benitez looking for response after Club World Cup disappointment

Chelsea - Aston Villa Preview: Benitez looking for response after Club World Cup disappointment

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The Blues lost to Corinthians to miss out on being crowned the world club champions, but are hoping to get their domestic hopes back on track against the in-form Villans

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

CHELSEA

Cech
Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Cole
 Mikel, Ramires
Moses, Mata, Hazard
Torres

ASTON VILLA

Guzan
Lowton, Baker, Lichaj, Clark
Ireland, Westwood, Holman, Bannan
Weimann
Benteke

Gary Cahill, John Obi Mikel and Ramires are all available for Chelsea after returning from suspension, and will likely take up places in the starting XI for Rafa Benitez's side.

John Terry (knee) is back in training but has no return date yet, with Benitez unsure if the captain will be fit for any festive fixtures. Daniel Sturridge may miss out again, while Oriol Romeu (knee) is out until at least next June with a serious injury.

Gabriel Agbonlahor (thigh) should be fit in time to feature for Villa at Stamford Bridge, and Stephen Ireland is set to return to the first team after missing the win over Liverpool through illness.

However, Villa have a number of other players battling to be fit for Sunday's clash - Darren Bent (knee), Richard Dunne (groin), Ron Vlaar (calf) and Stiliyan Petrov (leukaemia) have no return dates as yet, while midfielder Craig Gardner (knee) is out until May.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Chelsea's 7-1 victory over Aston Villa in 2010 was the Villans' biggest ever Premier League defeat.
  • Aston Villa have only won once in their last 10 visits to Stamford Bridge, but that win came last season as the Villans claimed a surprise 3-1 victory.
  • Rafael Benitez has only lost once in 12 matches against Aston Villa as a Premier League manager, winning seven and drawing four.
  • Juan Mata (pictured, right) has scored four goals in his last five games in all competitions for Chelsea.
  • The Blues have used 20 players in the Premier League this season, fewer than any other side in the division.
  • Andreas Weimann has scored five goals in his last six games for Villa in all competitions.
  • No other referee has given more penalties (five) this season than Phil Dowd, who will officiate the game on Sunday.
  • Chelsea's Eden Hazard has 22 assists since the beginning of the 2011-12 season - more than any other player in the top five European leagues.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Petr CechGoalkeeper
2Branislav IvanovicDefender
3Ashley ColeDefender
23David LuizDefender
24Gary CahillDefender
28César AzpilicuetaDefender
8Frank LampardMidfielder
-Victor MosesMidfielder
17Eden HazardMidfielder
9Fernando TorresStriker
8Juan MataStriker
21Ross TurnbullGoalkeeper
20Paulo FerreiraDefender
27Nathan AkeDefender
7RamiresMidfielder
11OscarMidfielder
21Marko MarinMidfielder
-Lucas PiazonStriker
1Bradley GuzanGoalkeeper
6Ciaran ClarkDefender
43Eric LichajDefender
2Nathan BakerDefender
34Matthew LowtonDefender
14Brett HolmanMidfielder
15Ashley WestwoodMidfielder
46Barry BannanMidfielder
17Chris HerdMidfielder
20C. BentekeStriker
10Andreas WeimannStriker
31Shay GivenGoalkeeper
3Joseph BennettDefender
32Stephen IrelandMidfielder
8Karim El AhmadiMidfielder
12Marc AlbrightonMidfielder
16Fabian DelphMidfielder
21Jordan Nathaniel BoweryStriker

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