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
PROMOTED VIDEO
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
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste