Aston Villa v CHELSEA: Preview

Venue: Villa Park
Date: Saturday, 7 February
Kick-off: 15:00

After a decent draw against City last week that kept the five point gap at the top of the table, this afternoon’s game sees us travel to Villa Park for a game against what has been, up til today, a very poor Villa side this season.
There seemed little love lost between the manager’s last time out at Villa Park and certainly Paul Lambert will want to go all out for a win to mark his 100th Premier League game as Villa’s manager.
Jose Mourinho meanwhile, still seething over Diego Costa’s ban, will want to press on with the title race having settled for a point last week. Add to that, his apparent inability to get a win at Villa Park, the Chelsea boss will be looking to end that run today.

MANAGER’S VIEWS
Neither manager said an awful lot of anything really ahead of today’s game but Villa boss Paul Lambert’s offering was “I’ve seen great players crumble under pressure from the crowd. That’s the last thing you want. You can’t hide and you have to be a big guy to do that. You don’t need to tell me the fans are worried – I know. We will be alright. The season won’t be defined by games against Arsenal and Chelsea.”
Whilst Chelsea boss, Jose Mourinho, when asked what he’d taken from our last trip to Villa, says “I learned nothing that I don’t learn before that. There are matches where it is impossible to win and you have to be smart enough to understand that.In football there are matches where I clearly know that it is impossible to win.” And on why he doesn’t seem to get the results off them away, says “Because they score more goals than us and sometimes the same number of goals as us.”

SQUAD NEWS
For Villa, Libor Kozak (leg) remains out and Philippe Senderos (calf) is not expected today either. Joe Cole (hamstring) is back, Ron Vlaar (knee) should return to the squad and on-loan Scott Sinclair could make his first start.
For Chelsea, Filipe Luis (calf) remains out injured, being kept company by the suspended Diego Costa. Cesc Fabregas is expected to return and Juan Cuadrado could make his debut.

TEAMS
A VILLA (Possible Line Up): Guzan; Cissokho, Clark, Okore, Hutton; Sinclair, Delph, Sanchez, Bacuna; Benteke, Weimann
CHELSEA (Possible Line Up): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Terry, Zouma, Ivanovic; Fabregas, Matic; Hazard, Oscar, Cuadrado; Remy

LAST SEASON
A Villa 1-0 Chelsea (15 March 2014)

OTHER STUFF
■ Villa are without a win in 8 league games
■ Villa have won just one of their last nine league games at home
■ Villa have failed to score in six consecutive league games
■ Chelsea are the Premier League’s highest scorers
■ Chelsea have taken just eight points from their last 18 away
■ Chelsea have kept clean sheets in five of their previous eight league games
■ Jose Mourinho has never beaten Villa at Villa Park

PREDICTION
If you compared teams and stats on paper, this would be a no-brainer but even as we saw Arsenal batter a woeful Villa last week, we were all anticipating Villa’s victory parade after today’s game. So would it really surprise any of us?

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