Chelsea host Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. These sides have had contrasting starts with Villa winning three of their five matches with 22 goals in their fixtures. The Blues have just five points so far with one win and a paltry five goals scored. Unai Emery’s team won this fixture towards the end of last season.
It’s been a poor start to the season for Mauricio Pochettino’s team. After five league matches, they have one win, two draws, and two losses with a 10-point gap to log leaders Man City already. Their opening-day promise in a 1-1 home draw vs. Liverpool has not been built on. After losing 3-1 at ten-man West Ham, they made heavy work of Luton before eventually winning 3-0.
Chelsea’s last home match saw a 1-0 loss to Nottingham Forest despite 76% possession. The Blues put up 21 shots and 2.30 xG but lacked the ruthlessness to convert their chances. Last weekend, they travelled to Bournemouth but could only draw 0-0. With 1.85 xG, there were opportunities created but not enough considering the space afforded to them.
Chelsea Team News
Pochettino is still without numerous players. Wesley Fofana is out long-term and Reece James is not yet ready to return so Malo Gusto will deputise at right back. Ben Chilwell will hope for a recall having been dropped at Bournemouth.
Moises Caicedo has a knee injury and both Carney Chukwuemeka and Christopher Nkunku are absent in the number ten role. Noni Madueke is back from illness and Cole Palmer is pushing for a first start since joining. Armando Broja is nearing a return up front to boost options.
Chelsea needs a win and they will play for three points. It won’t be the most open and expressive style of play used as Pochettino bemoaned his fullbacks being too attack in the last match.
They will try to control the game with men behind the ball and score once or twice if possible.
Aston Villa Form
Villa won 10 of their final 15 league matches last season. The new campaign has seen a strong start with three victories in five league matches. They were thrashed 5-1 at Newcastle on the opening day as they allowed nine ‘big chances’. Emery’s side bounced back well to thrash Everton 4-0 at home in round two. A 3-1 win at Burnley followed in the league, in between 5-0 home and 3-0 away thrashing of Hibernian in Europe.
After losing 3-0 at Anfield to Liverpool in a one-sided affair, they again found a way to respond with a win. They took three points last weekend at home in a 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace. Goals in the 8th and 11th minutes of injury time were needed including a debatable penalty. On Thursday, Villa rested numerous players and were beaten 3-2 away at Legia Warsaw in the UEFA Europa Conference League.
Aston Villa Team News
Unai Emery is without two long-term knee injury victims, Emi Buendia and Tyrone Mings. Winger Bertrand Traore and centre-back Diego Carlos remain in injury doubts after missing recent matches. Either a back three or a back four could be used with Pau Torres back from rest and Clement Lenglet in the picture.
Leon Bailey, Moussa Diaby, and Ollie Watkins could all start. The latter duo were only used as subs in Poland in midweek. Nicola Zaniolo may drop down to the bench for this one with extra defensive nous and speed being preferred.
Aston Villa Motivation
Villa went to Stamford Bridge in April and left with a fine 2-0 win. They will have every belief that they can repeat the trick in this one.
Fatigue may be a factor having played an away match in Poland on Thursday. Emery’s approach will become clear when we see if he uses a back four or switches to five defenders.
Chelsea have lost 11 of their last 19 matches in all competitions
Chelsea have won just twice in 13 home Premier League matches (D6, L5)
Chelsea’s 5 league matches have seen just 10 goals (5 scored, 5 conceded)
Aston Villa have won 13 of their last 20 league matches
Villa have won just once in 7 away league matches (4 losses)
This match is a difficult one to call. Chelsea are struggling at home and Villa are struggling in away matches. A draw may be the best bet in this one or looking at double chance markets.
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at 2.15
Alternative Bet: Aston Villa win/draw double chance at 1.90
Alternative Bet: Aston Villa win/draw double chance + Over 1.5 goals at 2.40