Chelsea will be looking to bounce back to winning ways when they welcome a high-flying Aston Villa side to Stamford Bridge on Monday evening.
The games continue to come thick and fast in the Premier League , and Chelsea will be in action just 48 hours after being demolished in a London derby as they gear up to host Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge in Matchweek 16 of the 2020/21 Premier League.
Having bounced back from back-to-back defeats to Everton and Wolves with a 3-0 win over West Ham United, Chelsea were handed a 3-1 defeat by Arsenal in the derby this weekend. They are currently eighth in the table, seven points off of leaders Liverpool. And Frank Lampard will be hoping that his team produce a strong reaction and cut that gap with a win on Monday.
Aston Villa, meanwhile, go into the game on the back of a four-game unbeaten run, winning their last two matches 3-0 against West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace. Following this run of results, Dean Smith’s men are seventh in the table, two points below fourth-placed Manchester United. They will be aiming to make the most of Chelsea’s troubles and come away with a win from Stamford Bridge.
The corresponding fixture last season saw Chelsea beat Villa 2-1, with goals coming from Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount. And ahead of their latest meeting on Monday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Chelsea have no injury concerns heading into the game apart from playmaker Hakim Ziyech. The Moroccan international remains a doubt for the fixture with a thigh problem. Given that they will be playing their second game in 48 hours, Lampard is likely to make a few changes to the team that started against Arsenal on Saturday.
No alterations are expected in goal with Edouard Mendy the undisputed first-choice. We could, however, see changes in the full-back slots as both Reece James and Ben Chilwell recently returned from injuries and might not be risked after playing the full game against Arsenal. Cesar Azpilicueta and Emerson Palmieri could come in for the English duo.
Lampard, so far this season, has refrained from using Thiago Silva in games when there is little recovery time. And there is a good chance that the Brazilian will not be involved on Monday, with Antonio Rudiger partnering Kurt Zouma at the heart of the Chelsea defence.
Jorginho, who missed a penalty in the weekend clash, is likely to start as the deepest of the three midfielders. N’Golo Kante and Mason Mount are expected to be retained, given that they have been two of Chelsea’s most consistent performers this season. Mateo Kovacic will be the one dropping out.
Timo Werner had a disappointing game on Saturday and should sit this one out with Callum Hudson-Odoi replacing him in the lineup. Christian Pulisic is also likely to be given a breather given his injury history, meaning Kai Havertz could be in line for a start on the flanks. Olivier Giroud is expected to replace Tammy Abraham as the striker.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Mendy; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Rudiger, Emerson; Kante, Jorginho, Mount; Havertz, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi
Aston Villa, on the other hand, will be without as many as four first-team players for their visit to Stamford Bridge. Tyrone Mings misses out due to suspension after being sent off in the weekend win over Crystal Palace while Ross Barkley is ineligible to play against his former club. Trezeguet and Wesley Moraes are injury-enforced absentees.
Dean Smith is unlikely to make any alterations and go in with his strongest XI on Monday as he looks to consolidate his side’s position in the top half of the table. So, former Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez ought to continue between the sticks, with the team setting up in a 4-2-3-1 formation in front of him.
Summer signing Matty Cash has made the right-back slot his own while Matt Targett should continue on the opposite side. Kortney Hause, who scored against Palace at the weekend, should once again start at the centre of the Villa backline, with Ezri Konsa likely to partner him in place of the suspended Mings.
Douglas Luiz and John McGinn should occupy the pivot positions in the middle of the park, although smith has the option of going for someone more defensive-minded like Marvelous Nakamba. Club captain Jack Grealish will make the team tick starting in the No. 10 role, although he will have the freedom to roam around in an attempt to trouble the hosts’ defence.
Anwar El Ghazi has been in good form leading into the game and should get the nod on the left while ex-Chelsea academy man Bertrand Traore starts on the right. There is no looking past summer signing Ollie Watkins for the centre-forward berth.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Martinez; Cash, Hause, Konsa, Targett; Luiz, McGinn; Traore, Grealish, El Ghazi; Watkins
- Both Teams to Score – NO @ 2.25
- Aston Villa Asian Handicap 0.0 @ 3.450
- Chelsea have won 10 of their last 11 Premier League games against Aston Villa (L1), including their last six in a row. They have scored 31 goals during that run while conceding just eight.
- Aston Villa haven’t kept a clean sheet in any of their last 19 Premier League away games against Chelsea (W2 D3 L14) since a 1-0 win back in 1998.
- Chelsea have lost their final league game in just one of the last 17 calendar years (W12 D4), although that defeat came against Aston Villa back in 2011.
- Aston Villa have won two of their three games in London this season. Only in 1992/93, 1995/96 and 2008/09 have the Villans won more Premier League games in the capital in a single campaign.
- Chelsea have scored at least 3 goals in 5 of their last 6 home matches in the Premier League.
Player to Watch
Having spent four years on Chelsea’s books between 2013 and 2017, the 25-year-old was never given ample opportunities to make a name for himself at the first-team level and instead spent time moving from one club to another on loan. Indeed, Traore made just 16 senior appearances for the Blues, scoring four goals in the process.
After having left Chelsea permanently in 2017, he was able to carve out a reputation for himself in France with Olympique Lyon before moving to Aston Villa this past summer. Traore international took time to get going at his new club, but is starting to find his footing, having scored two and assisted one in his last two league games.
On Monday, Traore will return to Stamford Bridge with the Villans and will be hoping to prove a point or two and lead his team to a win against his former employers.
Chelsea 1-1 Aston Villa
Chelsea come into the game with just one win in their last four outings and the pressure is firmly on Frank Lampard to turn things around, especially after the manner of the defeat against Arsenal on Boxing Day. Aston Villa, in contrast, are flying high, having not lost in four consecutive matches, keeping a clean sheet every time.
The Blues haven’t been firing on all cylinders in attack of late, with Hakim Ziyech’s absence being sorely felt. Plus, with Lampard likely to make some changes, Villa will fancy their chances of coming away with a win. That being said, Chelsea boast a solid record at home against the Villans and should have enough quality to avoid a defeat. The Hard Tackle, thus, predicts this to end in a 1-1 draw.