Chelsea must beat Aston Villa without key stars

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Jose Mourinho will feel three points against an abysmal Aston Villa side will be no problem for his title-contending squad. However, the absence of a few key stars dampens the mood for the Blues. 

Diego Costa has been in inspirational form for the Blues in his maiden season in England. His indomitable spirit, leadership, and ability to rile up defenders have been key assets to Chelsea's strong forward line.

While serving a three-game ban, Costa's finishing, movement, and aggressiveness will be sorely missed against the likes of Aston Villa and Everton.

Remy and Drogba

Loïc Rémy has deputised well, scoring against Manchester City, while also showcasing his pace and finishing ability. In a minimal amount of appearances he's managed to score five goals and two assists across all competitions for the Blues. Drogba also remains an option, although the Blues legend doesn't offer as much a threat going forward.

In midfield Mikel and Fabregas remain unavailable through injury. The latter has especially contributed to the Blues dominance in the center of the park, while Mikel has proven to be a solid, if unspectacular, midfield option.

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Fabregas' contributions include four goals and 20 assists in all competitions this season. Ramires will most likely partner Nemanja Matic in midfield, but his energetic and hard-tackling style of play, although admirable, will not be able to fill the void left by Fabregas, who is currently experiencing a hamstring strain. 

Willian remains sidelined with injury and, with the departure of André Schürrle and Mohamed Salah, Chelsea look a little light in terms of options on the right-wing.

Cuadrado to make debut

Juan Cuadrado may be handed a debut, if deemed ready by Mourinho, and the Colombian will no doubt be hoping to make a strong impact for the Blues. Having only signed last week, it may take Cuadrado time to settle in, but, against a whimpering Aston Villa, he will be dreaming of tearing the Villains weak defense apart. 

In defence, Filipe Luis remains out with a calf problem and Cesar Azpilicueta looks set to start at left-back. The Spaniard's recent dip in form may leave Chelsea's defense weakened with no other natural left-backs available. Despite this, expect a strong showing from the diligent Azpilicueta, who will no doubt look forward to getting back to his best.

Mourinho faces a dilemma with his squad's depth. Injuries and bans will probably give a few academy youngsters some time on the bench or maybe a possible, but unlikely, chance of a debut. In the coming weeks Chelsea will have to grind past teams looking to capitalise on their weaknesses. Do the Blues have what it takes to cope without some of their most influential players?

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Francesc Fabregas
Premier League
Filipe Luis
Diego Costa
Aston Villa

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