The highs and lows of football all in the space of five days for the Villa boys as a late flow of goals to beat Crystal Palace on Sunday was soon followed by a 3-2 defeat to Legia Warszawa on Thursday night. The latter was a bitterly out-of-character result and performance from Aston Villa, and all involved with the club are expecting a bounce-back at Stamford Bridge.
Villa face a Chelsea side who are goalless in two, with their opponents in those two games being Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth. However, after Villa’s defensive performance on Thursday Night, the Chelsea fans may have something to cheer about. After a much changed starting XI on Thursday, I think we can, again, expect to see changes to the team.
We have reverted to a back-four ever since the slight injury to Diego Carlos and we should expect for Matty Cash and Pau Torres to come back in for the trip to Stamford Bridge. Lucas Digne continues his great form with a goal against Legia Warszawa, but now faces competition after the return of Alex Moreno.
Youri Tielemans was treated to a start on Thursday Night, after Douglas Luiz took an unusual seat on the bench. Fans reaction on Twitter after the game, highlighted how much we missed the Brazilian on Thursday night, with his composure and fluency in midfield.
One positive that could be taken out of Thursday night’s fixture was Jhon Duran who continued his goal-scoring form; he is now up to four for the season. After his performances at the start of this season there have been comparisons of Duran being the new Christian Benteke and after his finish against Palace on Saturday, I can get fully behind that.
Mauricio Pochettino came across as nothing but optimistic in his pre-match press conference after saying that he has been ‘pleased’ with his sides recent performances even though results have not gone their way.
Following his promising pre-season form, Nicolas Jackson has only scored once so far, that coming in their only league win this season, which saw them beat newly promoted Luton Town 3-0.
Pochettino, again, expressed his clear hope in the pre-match press conference as he said that ‘Nicolas Jackson will be a fantastic player’. Hopefully he won’t be too fantastic come Sunday.
The only criticism that the Argentinian manager communicated was he demands that his team become ‘more clinical in front of goal’ after a lack of goals so far this season.
Chelsea have had the whole of the week in order to get prepared for this fixture, whereas Villa only have the Saturday in order to fully ‘prepare’, therefore we can expect a ‘tough match’ in the words of Emery.
Pochettino has said that Moises Caicedo will be assessed on Saturday, and a final decision will be made then, to see whether he will be fit to make the squad for Sunday.
Marc Cucurella and Noni Madueke are both fit again to make the side.
French Defender, Benoit Badiashille and former Villa midfielder, Carney Chukwumueka are both close to being back in full team training.
Albanian striker, Armando Broja may be available for the game; this would add competition to a struggling Nicholas Jackson.
Chelsea will again also miss Marucs Bettinelli, Trevoh Chalobah, Wesley Fofana, Reece James, Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia (who is still yet to make an appearance for Chelsea).
For the Villa, there are no fresh injury concerns (not been able to say that in a while) arising from the trip to Poland on Thursday night.
We saw Jacob Ramsey return on Thursday night, which is going to add another versatile attacking option in midfield.
Villa will still remain without Tyrone Mings, Emiliano Buendia and Diego Carlos for this Premier League clash.
Every weekend Villa seem to be having players returning from injury, which is only going to add to the squad as the fixture calendar is stacked.
Sanchez; Colwill, Silva, Disasi, Gusto; Gallagher, Ugochukwu; Enzo, Sterling, Mudryk; Jackson
Aston Villa (4-2-2-2)
Martinez; Alex Moreno, Konsa, Torres, Cash; Kamara, Douglas Luiz; McGinn, Zaniolo; Diaby, Watkins
I think that this one is going to be a very close game. With Chelsea having the full week to prepare and Thursday’s trip to Poland potentially taking a toll on the Villa, I think that this one ends in a draw.
Chelsea’s attack has been far from forceful so far this season, so this could work in Villa’s favour after looking vulnerable at times. I expect to see Alex Moreno return and fill in for Digne, after the Frenchmen has played every single game apart from the Hibernian second leg.
Maybe another Duran goal on the cards, perhaps?
Prediction: Chelsea 1 Aston Villa 1