Chelsea will hope to get their second win in 6 games in all competitions when they travel to Villa Park on Saturday. Manager Guus Hiddink will have to assess the form and fatigue of players who have returned after 2 weeks of international duty as they go to face an unpredictable Aston Villa side playing their first game since the departure of manager Remi Garde.
Chelsea will look to start the month with a positive result after registering only one win in March that came against Norwich City. After a difficult month which saw them crash out of the Champions League and FA Cup at the hands of PSG and Everton respectively, they will look to come back from the West Midlands with a positive result in the first game after the International break.
FA increases Diego Costa ban
Diego Costa has been served with an additional one match ban and has also been fined by the FA after admitting to improper conduct. According to BBCSport, the Spaniard has been punished for his reaction to being sent off after his clash with Gareth Barry in an FA Cup tie. Costa was initially supposed to miss two games but will now have to serve a 3 match ban which will see him miss the tie against Swansea on the 9th of April.
Hiddink On Fair Judgement
Speaking in his pre-match press conference as reported by club website, the Chelsea manager spoke of Alexandre Pato, who is yet to feature for the Blues this campaign. Hiddink said that he wasn’t sure if the Brazilian striker would feature on the day of the match and that it was a decision which was reserved for later. The manager went on to say, “His [Pato’s] fitness has improved, He has worked very hard during the international break. When I started we had just Diego which was one of the reasons we got Pato on loan.”
The manager claimed that Bertrand Traore and Loic Remy are also in contention for a place in the first team and that as a manager, he tries to pass fair judgement and provide opportunities to all his players.
Injury and Fitness Updates
Hiddink also spoke about the players who recently returned from international duty and their chances of being involved in the match tomorrow.
‘‘Today Oscar, Traore and Willian came back one day before the game. We will see how they are in their fitness and freshness. After a long journey we will see if they are available tomorrow.’’
“He is outside the group.”
He added that Hazard is still unavailable for now.
“He is on the pitch but with the physios, he is outside the group.”
Speaking about Costa, he said “Costa is suspended but he trained very well the past week, he was very ambitious and enjoyed working. He is not injured any more.”
Experimentation With The Squad
The Dutchman also mentioned in his press conference that he could look to experiment with his squad. With very little to play for and 8 games to go in the season, Hiddink believes that there is scope at Chelsea to experiment with the squad. However, he refused to give guarantees to any players.
In light of Chelsea’s suspensions, injuries and player fatigue, it will be interesting to see how the Dutchman sets up his teams for the remaining 8 games of the season.