Chelsea will play host to Aston Villa in the first mid-week Premier League game of the season tonight at Stamford Bridge in a match rearranged due to Chelsea’s Super Cup commitments.
With both teams on three points a piece - it gives the winner of the game the opportunity to go three points clear at the top of the league going into going into this weekend’s fixtures.
And with Chelsea’s next fixture being against Manchester United at Old Trafford next Monday, Jose Mourinho’s side will be desperate to go into the game with a chance to finish it 6 points ahead of Moyes’ men if they win.
Out of all the victories in the opening weekend in the Premier League one would have to say Aston Villa’s was the most impressive having come back from 1-0 down to Arsenal at the Emirates to win 3-1, thanks to two strikes from Christian Benteke and one from new signing Antonio Luna.
But if Chelsea’s first half performance against Hull was anything to go by then Aston Villa’s defence will surely have their work cut out for them trying to contain the skill and movement of the likes of Oscar, Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard.
The stats on paper suggest Chelsea should be confident of victory having lost just once in their last eleven meetings against Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea has also won the last three meetings, scoring 14 goals in the three fixtures combined.
This includes the painful memory of the last time Paul Lambert’s side visited the Bridge where they suffered an 8-0 thrashing – the club’s worst ever margin of defeat in top flight football.
There is, though, a firm belief amongst Villa fans that Paul Lambert’s men have overcome their troubles from last season with their positive start to the season, and the fact they managed to keep prolific striker Benteke away from the clutches of a ‘bigger’ team.
Other than Chelsea missing David Luiz and Tomas Kalas, and Aston Villa missing Nathan Baker and Chris Herd, the two clubs will be arriving to the game with fit squads.
A big question still remains as to whom Chelsea is going to deploy as their front man. Jose Mourinho went with Fernando Torres last week, but the striker didn’t pose any threat on the ball or off it. Late on in the game he brought on Romelu Lukaku, who back and fresh from his loan spell at West Brom, looked like more of a threat.
Maybe tonight is Mourinho’s chance to take a leap of faith and try the young Belgium international in the starting 11. Chelsea, along with Manchester City, are the two favourites to win the title, and after both of their performances in their opening games we can understand why.
But this is an Aston Villa side that have a lot of making up to do this season, so Mourinho’s side won’t be expecting to have as simple of a ride against Villa tonight as they did here last season at Stamford Bridge.
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