We are back!
Chelsea sit 4th in the table as they take on 11th placed Aston Villa. Villa have won 1 lost 1 and drawn 1 this season as they head to Stamford Bridge. Villa and Dean Smith are navigating a post Grealish season but the club did well in the transfer market and at least on paper seemed to have managed to replace him. Much like many other teams Dean Smith and Villa have not had their full squad available due to Covid, injuries or isolation.
Chelsea went into the international break having got a big point at Anfield given the circumstances. We sit 2 points behind leaders Tottenham but at this stage it’s just about gaining momentum. Villa have been a tricky customer for Chelsea in recent games and they beat us on the final day of last season at Stamford Bridge. The first three games have seen a fractured squad play and but the real momentum should start now. The Arsenal and Liverpool games saw Chelsea get several chances in front of goal but the decision making was again lacking but mostly due to our forward players still understanding each other. With Chelsea playing 7 games over the next 4 weeks we should see those issues be worked out.
Chelsea Team Preview
Tuchel will be without Pulisic who is injured for 10 days due to an ankle issue he picked up during the international break. Kante got injured during the Liverpool game but Tuchel said he should be available for Zenit. Thiago Silva may or may not be available depending on the outcome of the Brazil national team problem. Mendy should start in goal with Chalobah, Christensen, and Rudiger as the back three. With Reece James unavailable due to his red card I would start Hudson-Odoi at right wing back although Azpilicueta could start. Chilwell has been training for the last two weeks and could start his first game as well but Alonso is in the same boat. Saul, and Kovacic should start in the midfield. The Spaniard has been training and impressing Tuchel and could make his debut. Up front Lukaku should start but who plays alongside him is anyone’s guess. Ziyech I feel could start because he has been training for at Cobham and one of Werner, Mount, and Havertz will fill the final slot. Werner has picked up momentum in recent during the international break having scored 3 in 3 but this game probably suits Mount. Havertz was caught some sort of flu and might be on the bench. With Chelsea’s squad depth and rotation being needed it’s really anyone’s guess who starts.
Aston Villa Team Preview
Villa will be without Buendia, and Martinez who are isolating. Bailey, Watkins, Traore and some other key players are back which is great for Dean Smith. Jed Steer should start in goal with Martinez out. Cash, Konsa, Ming, and Targett should start in defence. Douglas Luiz, should be supported by McGinn, and Ashley Young in midfield. Bailey, Ings, and El Ghazi should start up front. Of course Dean Smith has some interesting options and they have played 3 different formations this season. Watkins, Traore, Nakamba, are some of the options available to him. The team I have predicted is a defensive one but there is plenty on pace on the counter and defensive solidity will be what Dean Smith will want. Bailey and Ings along with El Ghazi is a dangerous front three for any team.
Starting XI Prediction
Villa have been tough to break down for Chelsea but if Chelsea are serious this season and it is looking like it then this like every game is a must win. It would be great to see Chelsea put 8 past Villa like seasons old but it would be great to see our forward players begin to click and for Lukaku to get a run going along with whoever starts along side him. It’s a big game and it will be Lukaku and maybe Saul’s home debut. COME ON CHELSEA!!!