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Villama Preview: Aston Villa v Chelsea

The Villans welcome Chelsea to Villa Park, with Villa boss Steven Gerrard missing out on the action on Saturday due to Covid-19.

Last week I witnessed myself waking up at around 6:00AM and shortly thereafter finding out that there wouldn’t be a match. It’s more than likely a few of you all had the same experience, but here’s to avoiding that dreadful fate this week as Chelsea visit Villa Park. I’ve never really liked Chelsea, but never thoroughly disliked them either. Aside from being very good, their defining characteristic to me is the lion on the badge looking like it’s complaining to the manager.

Aston Villa v Chelsea - Premier League
FLASHBACK: On the final day of last season, Aston Villa ended the campaign with a bang after securing a 2-1 over Chelsea.
Photo by Nick Potts - Pool/Getty Images

Villa’s team sheet will look relatively familiar, barring last second illness or injury. Emi Martinez, the oft-mentioned tallest Emi, starts in goal, with Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa at center-back. To their left on defense is Matt Targett and Matty Cash, the Polish Cafu, plays to the right.

The midfield remains without Marvelous Nakamba, though the holding position is in equally sufficient hands with Douglas Luiz. Joining Luiz in the midfield should be Jacob Ramsey and John McGinn.

Further up the pitch, you can pencil in Ashley Young and Emi Buendia complimenting Ollie Watkins. There’s a chance we could see Carney Chukwuemeka in place of Ashley Young, but that’s mostly me trying to speak it into existence. I have absolutely nothing against Young, but I like seeing some of the more capable younger players like Jacob Ramsey and Chukwuemeka get meaningful minutes.

Chelsea are very solid side, currently sitting third in the table. Getting points will be a tough ask, but not an impossible one. They’re dealing with some injuries as Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner are both expected to be out as well as Ben Chilwell. The last three league matches haven’t been their best run of the season, most recently drawing 0-0 at Wolves, 1-1 to Everton, and besting Leeds 3-2, but that’s not stinking up the place either. Players to watch are Mateo Kovacic (One goal and five assists on the season) and Mason Mount (Second goals and four assists) along with Thiago Silva (Two goals) at center-back.

PREDICTION: A 1-1 draw or even a 1-0 loss would be a reasonable expectation. Villa are playing well, but Chelsea are who they are and a draw would be respectable. It’s the holidays, though, and as audacious as it sounds, I think Aston Villa can do this. 2-1 to the Villans, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

Aston Villa Training and Press Conference
Can Villa cope without Steven Gerrard over the next couple of league fixtures?
Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images