Premier League: Match preview Aston Villa v Chelsea

A look ahead to this weekend's fixture at Villa Park

Saturday’s late kick off at Villa Park gives Jose Mourinho and his Chelsea side the opportunity to stretch their lead at the top to at least nine points - provided Manchester City beat Hull in the day’s early kick-off - with Arsenal and Liverpool both facing tough away fixtures the following day at Old Trafford and White Hart Lane respectively.

The Portuguese manager has persistently downplayed his side’s chances of securing their first domestic crown since Carlo Ancelotti led them to a league and cup double in the 2009/10 season, but his admission that everything he says is mind games shows he believes his current crop have what it takes to win the Premier League. They were rampant in last week’s second-half demolition of Tottenham – even if the three points came somewhat gift wrapped by the visitors – and another Saturday evening performance like last week’s will leave the likes of Manuel Pellegrini, Brendan Rodgers and Arsene Wenger fretting on their own sides chances of catching them.

Fixtures have fallen kindly in recent weeks for the league leaders with City left to play catch up after a combination of FA Cup action and a postponement, allowing Chelsea to open up an intimidating lead at the top and exert some pressure on a team that has begun to look vulnerable. That said, City would usurp the Blues at the top if they win all their games in hand – the reason behind Mourinho’s claims the Premier League table is ‘unrealistic’.

From Aston Villa’s perspective, they will be looking to finish the season as strongly as possible to provide fans at Villa Park with optimism looking ahead to next year. Although they’re by no means safe from relegation, they sit comfortably six points ahead of the bottom three but perhaps more importantly, there are six other teams sandwiched in between them and the drop zone.

Paul Lambert has at times this season fallen out of favour with some parts of the Midlands fan base, largely because of their failings at home. They have won four at home all season, drawing five and losing five of the other 10. That record will not fill Pellegrini, Wenger or Rodgers with any confidence.

KICK-OFF: Saturday, 5.30pm

PAST THREE MEETINGS…

Chelsea (Luna OG, Ivanovic) 2-1 Aston Villa (Benteke), Premier League

Aston Villa (Benteke) 1-2 Chelsea (Lampard [2]), Premier League

Chelsea (Torres, Luiz, Ivanovic, Ramires [2], Lampard, Oscar, Hazard) 8-0 Aston Villa, Premier League

STATS…

Aston Villa have the chance to win back-to-back home games for the first time since August 2011 after they beat Norwich 4-1 last time out

Chelsea have conceded just two goals in their last six away games, winning four and drawing two in the process

Frank Lampard (13)  has scored more goals against Aston Villa than he has against any other opponent in Premier League history

Chelsea (14) are the only team to have collected more points from losing positions than Aston Villa (13) this term

Villa have lost their last four in a row against the Blues, and have only tasted victory once in their last eight league meetings

ODDS…

Aston Villa to win: 6.5

Chelsea to win: 1.53

Draw: 4.0

CLASSIC MOMENT/MATCH

Boxing Day 2007 provided Aston Villa and Chelsea fans with the most entertaining encounter between these two this side of the Millennium when they drew 4-4 at Stamford Bridge. Back when Mourinho was enjoying his first stint as Blues’ boss, Gareth Barry scored a late penalty to earn an incredible draw for the Villains in west London. Villa surged into a two-goal lead but after Zat Knight saw red and Andrei Shevchenko scored from the resulting penalty, the tie turned in the home side’s favour. Shevchenko netted the equaliser, Alex gave Mourinho’s men the lead by Martin Laursen once again levelled the match at 3-3. Ricardo Carvalho evened up the numbers with a nasty lunge that resulted in an early bath, and although Michael Ballack once again put the home side ahead, Barry’s late spot-kick heroics rescued a point for the visitors. 

TV: Live Sky Sports 1, Saturday 5.30pm. Highlights on BBC 1 at 10.30pm

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms