Tactical Preview: Aston Villa vs. Chelsea

Tony Marshall

In a match that is not totally crucial to the rest of the season for Aston Villa, manager Paul Lambert could choose to experiment. That being said, taking a point (or three), could be a huge step towards securing Premier League football for next season.

In a game that pits table-toppers Chelsea against twelfth place Aston Villa, three points seem much more attainable for the west London side. However, with a crucial Champions League clash against Galatasaray coming on Tuesday, manager Jose Mourinho may choose to prioritize that match over this Premier League fixture. If a team is chosen other than Mourinho's best XI, there may be a chance of Villa taking at least one point.

Although it seems like ages since Aston Villa's 4-1 home win against Norwich City, it may be possible for the team to retain some momentum from the victory. Confidence can very often be the key to a team keeping up form, and particularly for a striker. That points directly to Villa's prolific hitman Christian Benteke. When Benteke scores, Villa generally win. In matches where he has scored, Villa won 15, drawn 5 and lost 6. Hard to argue with that. Two of these losses when he has scored however, have been against Chelsea.

Chelsea are coming off of a 4-0 victory against London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Even before Younès Kaboul was sent off in the 59th minute, Chelsea were the better side. Although Chelsea haven't had a significant amount of production from the striker position, their attacking midfielders have made up for it. Eden Hazard, Oscar, Willian, and more recently André Schürrle have enjoyed good form. Not to mention Frank Lampard, who just kills Aston Villa. Lampard has more goals against Villa (13) than anyone else in the Premier League.

Generally, Mourinho has preferred a 4-2-3-1 in recent history. We should fully expect to see that on Saturday at Villa Park. Lambert probably will stick with the 4-3-3 that has seen moderate success in his time as manager. With just about everyone available for selection (excluding Bertrand who cannot play against his parent club), he will probably take his normal first choice eleven.

Here is how I expect Lambert will line up against Chelsea:

football formations

Subs from: Steer, Lowton, Sylla, Luna, Clark, Weimann, Holt.

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