Premier League Preview: Aston Villa - Chelsea
With Paul Lambert's men able to ensure survival with three points here, the Villans will be eager to avoid a repeat of December's thrashing at the hands of the Blues
By Sam Wells
Lowton, Vlaar, Baker, Bennett
Westwood, Delph, Sylla
Agbonlahor, Benteke, Weimann
Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole
Moses, Mata, Oscar
Paul Lambert looks likely to name the same eleven that triumphed in Aston Villa's all-important 2-1 victory over Norwich as the club searches for a win against the Blues that would guarantee Villa safety.
Matt Lowton, however, is a doubt after he picked up a thigh injury in last Saturday's win, as he will have to undergo a late fitness test in order to make what would be his 37th consecutive Premier League start.
Marc Albrighton (ankle), Richard Dunne (groin), Gary Gardner (ACL) and Chris Herd (ankle) also remain sidelined with their respective injuries.
Rafa Benitez, meanwhile, will make the changes that the Chelsea support has grown accustomed to, with John Terry, Frank Lampard, Victor Moses and Demba Ba all likely to replace Gary Cahill, David Luiz, Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres from the side that earned a 2-2 draw against Tottenham on Wednesday.
Chelsea has injury concerns over Ryan Bertrand (knee), Jon Obi Mikel (hand) and Hazard (calf), although Oriol Romeu could recover from a knee injury picked up in December in time to make the squad.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Chelsea has won on two of its last four Premier League trips to Villa Park, dropping points with a draw and a defeat in the other two.
- However, Aston Villa's home record recently has been disappointing; it has won a meager three times over its last 11 home matches in the league, losing six and drawing two.
- More cause for concern for Paul Lambert's men comes in the fact that Chelsea inflicted Aston Villa’s biggest ever Premier League defeat when the two teams met just before Christmas, cantering to an 8-0 win (incidentally, this was also the last time Fernando Torres scored in the Premier League).
- Christian Benteke (pictured right), in stark contrast to Torres, has had no problem finding the net in the league, scoring 13 Premier League goals since the turn of the year - more than anyone else in 2013.
- Chelsea has scored more headed goals than anyone else in the league this season; Oscar's header against Tottenham was its sixteenth of the campaign.
- The Blues have also scored the opening goal in more league games than any other side in the league, having broken the deadlock a total of 24 times over the course of the season.
Top 3 Predictions
Aston Villa 0-3 Chelsea
- 17.71 %
Aston Villa 1-3 Chelsea
- 14.6 %
Aston Villa 0-2 Chelsea
- 10.11 %
|English Premier League (EPL) (EPL)||Aug 21, 2013||Chelsea 2 - Aston Villa 1|
|English Premier League (EPL) (EPL)||May 11, 2013||Aston Villa 1 - Chelsea 2|
|English Premier League (EPL) (EPL)||Dec 23, 2012||Chelsea 8 - Aston Villa 0|
|English Premier League (EPL) (EPL)||Mar 31, 2012||Aston Villa 2 - Chelsea 4|
|English Premier League (EPL) (EPL)||Dec 31, 2011||Chelsea 1 - Aston Villa 3|
|Mar 2, 2014||Aston Villa 4 - Norwich City 1||EPL|
|Feb 23, 2014||Newcastle 1 - Aston Villa 0||EPL|
|Feb 11, 2014||Cardiff City 0 - Aston Villa 0||EPL|
|Feb 8, 2014||Aston Villa 0 - West Ham 2||EPL|
|Feb 1, 2014||Everton 2 - Aston Villa 1||EPL|
|21||Jordan Nathaniel Bowery||Striker|
Times In EDT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed