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Premier League

  • March 15, 2014
  • • 1:30 PM
  • • Villa Park, Birmingham
  • Referee: C. Foy
  • • Attendance: 40084

Premier League Preview: Aston Villa - Chelsea

Premier League Preview: Aston Villa - Chelsea

The Premier League table-toppers have history on their side as they take on Paul Lambert's men, with the Blues netting 30 times in their last nine encounters against the Villans.

Chelsea's much-criticized strikeforce may be licking its lips ahead of a Premier League visit to Aston Villa on Saturday.

A lot has been made of the Blues' lack of a genuine goalscorer this season, particularly by manager Jose Mourinho himself - but his team has still been able to open up a seven-point lead at the top of the table.

Andre Schurrle bagged a hat trick in a 3-1 win at Fulham earlier this month, while strikers Demba Ba and Samuel Eto'o were among those on target in a convincing 4-0 triumph over Tottenham on Saturday.

History suggests another big day could be in the cards for Chelsea's attackers, with the Blues having scored 30 goals in their last nine encounters against Villa in all competitions.

They embarrassed Villa 8-0 at Stamford Bridge in December 2012 and Frank Lampard scored four in a 7-1 drubbing at the same ground in March 2010.

Despite Chelsea's healthy lead at the summit of the Premier League, goalkeeper Petr Cech insists the squad is not getting carried away.

"We are going game by game, we keep saying that," Cech told the club's official website. "There's plenty of football to be played, but we are in the position where we would like to finish the season. We are in a good position."

Cech - a key figure in all three of Chelsea's previous title successes in the Premier League era - has enjoyed a fine season to date. Chelsea has conceded just 22 goals in 29 matches, a league low.

Mourinho's men - who are unbeaten in 14 league fixtures - recorded a 2-1 triumph over Villa earlier this season, thanks to Branislav Ivanovic's second-half winner.

Paul Lambert's side will enter the game fresher, having not played in just fewer than two weeks after last week's trip to Manchester City was postponed because of the latter's involvement in the FA Cup.

Villa ended a four-match winless streak with a 4-1 home success against Norwich City in their previous fixture, Christian Benteke scoring twice.

The Midlands club occupies 11th position, but Lambert will still be wary of being dragged into a relegation dogfight with Cardiff City, which sits 18th, only six points behind.

Ryan Bertrand is ineligible for Villa under the terms of his loan deal from Chelsea, and the hosts will also be without long-term absentees Libor Kozak (broken leg), Charles N'Zogbia (Achilles) and Jores Okore (knee).

Ashley Cole is set to return for Chelsea after missing the Spurs win with a knee injury, but Fernando Torres (muscle injury) and David Luiz (groin) are doubtful.

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