We here at 7500 to Holte do an excellent job, if I dare to say it myself, of giving you comprehensive previews of upcoming Aston Villa matches, emphasizing the squad's recent performances, speculating on possible tactics, and highlighting potential flaws in the opponent's game.
But what's not often presented are things like overall record against the team Villa are about to face, how long it's been since Villa have scored at that particular ground, the reasons a side gets under Villa's skin. Mostly, that's because we believe that history doesn't play that big a part in upcoming games. However, it often does feature in the reasons why fans hate a particular side. And so we present the "Love to Hate" series.
First up, Chelsea.
There are plenty of general reasons to hate the Blues: new money, a lack of history, an exceedingly arrogant manager, the fact that John Terry still plays, the way that they only fail to win when you've stuck them on your accumulator bet...but here are some reasons for Villa fans to get fired up about Saturday's clash.
Since 1907, when Chelsea and Villa first met, the two sides have faced off either 140 or 147 times, depending on which source you consult. To make it simple, we'll stick with the 140 number. As you might expect, each side has done better at home, although Chelsea get the edge. Villa have won 47% of the games at Villa Park, the Blues 54% at Stamford Bridge. Villa are better at scoring at home, however, with 1.81 goals per game to Chelsea's 1.77 - not too much of a difference, particularly when you consider Chelsea are better at scoring on the road. Overall, Chelsea have won 40% of the time, to Villa's 36.4%, while 23.6% of matches end in draws.
Not so bad, right? But then there's that recent history, when, 15 months ago, Chelsea clobbered Aston Villa 8-0. It was painful enough at halftime, by which time Fernando Torres, David Luiz and Branislav Ivanović had all scored. Everyone wanted in on the action, however, and Frank Lampard, Eden Hazard, and Oscar all contributed one, and Ramires selfishly took two - including the final goal in injury time. The Blues even introduced 18-year-old Lucas Piazon, who at least had the courtesy to miss a penalty, but all in all, it was pretty humiliating.
Villa ended December in 17th place, one point above the drop. This was after they fell 4-0 to Tottenham and 3-0 to Wigan. Really, we can blame Chelsea for a 15-0 run, especially considering they ended a six-game unbeaten streak.
Then there are the Chelsea players Villa fans should love to hate. Sure, despising John Terry is easy (although there's even more reason after he smacked Andi Weimann in the face last May, and didn't even get punished for it, and only got yellow for tripping up Yacouba Sylla). But did you know Lampard has scored more goals - thirteen - against Aston Villa then any other Premier League side? Ivanović, too, loves to score against Villa, putting in four in seven matches - twice as many as against any other club.
Oh yes, and the Serb was at the heart of the controversy in the reverse fixture, in which he elbowed Christian Benteke inside the area. It sure looked like Ivanović deserved a sending off; instead he went on to score the winner. Blues boss José Mourinho then went on to insult Paul Lambert, stating that the manager complains about every decision.
As if that weren't enough, Chelsea made Villa pay £5m for Steve Sidwell...the same amount Bolton payed for Gary Cahill. Who the Blues have now. At least his goal last May was ruled to have not crossed the line, but wow, considering Villa's perennial crisis at the back, wouldn't it be nice to have Cahill right now? Oh, and speaking of the back, Ryan Bertrand won't play because he's facing his former club. Meanies.
Of course, these are the most recent incidents involving Chelsea. I'm sure there are plenty more examples that can be listed as to why Villa fans should despise the Blues (many, surely, involving controversial refereeing decisions). Leave a comment below with your reason(s) you love to hate Chelsea.
- Don't get too excited about that 10th place finish for Aston Villa
- Will Aston Villa be without a natural enemy next season?
- Villa's Lambert needs to stop hiding behind "bad luck" excuses
- Bertrand proves he's just crazy enough to be a Villan
- Aston Villa's defense is the foundation on which the club should be build