FOOTBALL RETURNS: Villa hoping to climb out of the bottom three in a stern test against Chelsea


Aston Villa return to their home ground, Villa Park, where they will face a Chelsea team who are rejuvenated and raring to go.

The signings of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech have created a new wave of optimism at Chelsea. Although they can’t be used yet, Frank Lampard’s side will be even more focused on a place in the top four.

Villa, on the other hand, are in the midst of a relegation battle, and have the perfect opportunity to climb out of the relegation zone on Sunday. The game against Chelsea is their game in hand, and if they capitalise on it, they could come out of the game week, 16th on the table.

Dean Smith’s team kept a clean sheet in their controversial game against Sheffield United on Wednesday and will be hoping for more of the same against the Blues.

Chelsea’s last game, in March, was an astonishing display against Everton, as they thrashed the Toffees 4-0 at Stamford Bridge. The performance was hailed as the best so far under Frank Lampard, and if a similar system is used, we could expect goals galore from Chelsea.

Team news

Aston Villa will be without Danny Drinkwater, as he is not eligible to play against his parent club, furthermore, he has picked up an injury. Long-term absentees Wesley, and Tom Heaton will not be available either. Villa’s central defender, Bjorn Engels has not recovered from his Achilles injury yet.

Injury news at Chelsea is mixed. Players like Ngolo Kante and Tammy Abraham are likely to come into the side following their recoveries from injury. However, they will be without Fikayo Tomori, who suffered a muscular injury, and Callum Hudson-Odoi who is out with an ankle injury.

Dean Smith believes his side are prepared for the game this afternoon.

We’ll have an idea of their squad and the shape. As Chris Wilder said before our game, there aren’t too many surprises going to be thrown out. We know each other’s squads because nothing’s changed within our squads. We’ll have a good idea of who we’re going to be facing.

Frank Lampard hopes his players can keep fit throughout the congested period.

We have to try and guard against injury while getting as fit as we can. I’m making the players as aware as I can of the challenges that are coming up and things that look different.”

One thing that has remained the same is the players on the pitch realising what’s at stake in these games and performing at the best of their ability to try to win for Chelsea. That’s the focus. I expect us to be ready and focused. We know how much is stake so we have to start well.


The clubs have faced each other only once in the past four years, because of Villa’s demotion and subsequent promotion for the 2019/20 season. The game was at Stamford Bridge in December last year, when Chelsea beat the Clarets and Blues 2-1.




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