Chelsea v Aston Villa: Match Preview

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Chelsea v Aston Villa
Barclays Premier League
Villa Park
Saturday, December 31st; 15:00

Team News

Captain John Terry and fellow defender Jose Bosingwa are both available following knocks, but Branislav Ivanovic and John Obi Mikel are both out.

Joint top scorer Darren Bent will return from a groin injury after missing Villa's last three and will partner Gabriel Agbonlahor up front.

Alan Hutton could also return after serving a one-match ban for his sending off against Arsenal.

Villas-Boas expected tough Villa test

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas says an organised Aston Villa will be a tough test for his side in the final game of 2011.

The Blues close their year with the visit of Villa, following a thrilling 3-3 between the two sides last season.

The 34-year-old boss has already written his side out of the title race for this season, and is expecting a tough task if they're to stay in contention for a top four spot.

"Villa have slowly been making progress," he said. "Alex [McLeish] has got Villa very well organised, they are one of the teams that shows great competence defending and also playing away from home, they have a lot of draws. They are compact and well organised.

"From what I have studied Alex has not changed a lot from game to game, they know each other's roles and have good relationships.

"They can give us a difficult challenge. The emotions that happened last year in the 3-3 were amazing and hopefully we can be competent enough to get the three points."

The returning Darren Bent says he'd hoping to emulate Peter Withe's feat of scoring 20 goals in a Villa shirt in a season this term.

Bent has only five goals this season but is raring to go after missing three games with injury.

"I'd like to think I can repeat Peter's goal feat from the league championship-winning season," Bent said.

"I've scored 20 a couple of times for my previous clubs so hopefully I can do it here over the next couple of seasons.

"I love scoring goals because they win games. That's important to me. But saying that, if someone said to me that Villa could finish seventh and I would score 10 goals, I would take it!

"I'd rather that than score 20 and Villa finish 13th or 14th.

"I'm really enjoying it here. The lads have been brilliant and the facilities are fantastic. Everything has worked out."

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