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Aston Villa host in-form Chelsea needing a win to lift spirits
Chelsea to win 2-0
Tournament: Premier League 2022-2023 | Venue: Birmingham, Villa ParkBet Now
There continue to be worrying signs for Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa, with more people questioning whether he is good enough to manage a team at this level.
Unfortunately for him, it is both the style of football and the results that have not been good enough this season. Just two wins from their nine games, with only seven goals scored, is a poor return.
For all the money that Villa have spent, particularly on attacking players, Gerrard just cannot seem to get a tune from them at the moment, and he may only be one or two bad results away from facing the chop.
Chelsea are at the other end of the spectrum right now, having gone unbeaten in the five games since Graham Potter’s appointment.
Four of those have been victories, including two impressive performances against AC Milan in the Champions League.
Can they continue their good form in the Premier League here?
Reasons to be cheerful:
Unbeaten in four league games
Attacking players are capable of causing an upset
Reasons to be fearful:
Their home crowd could turn on them if this doesn’t go well
Poor record against Chelsea over the years
You feel that if this game starts badly for Aston Villa, particularly if they go a goal or two behind, then their home crowd could turn ugly.
Many among them feel that Gerrard isn’t up to the task, although he has steadied the ship somewhat in recent weeks. The team have now gone four games unbeaten, with one victory.
However, in the most recent two, both draws against Leeds and Nottingham Forest, they would have been expected to win.
There is no such expectation here, of course, given Chelsea’s superiority over Villa in recent history. Villa have won just one of their last 10 meetings, and have lost six of their last eight at Villa Park.
There have to be signs of improvement here, whether Villa win or not. A poor performance will only see those negative voices grow louder.
Star Man – Emiliano Buendia
Continues to show flashes of his talent without ever truly fulfilling his potential. He has the ability to cause problems against any team, and needs to show that here.
Reasons to be cheerful
Exceptional record over Villa
Potter’s style of football is winning fans over
Reasons to be fearful
Potter has a poor record against Villa
European games could cause lack of energy
Chelsea continue to find their feet under Graham Potter and it looks as though Chelsea have made a smart choice in appointing him as manager.
Some of the players seem liberated, while the likes of Kepa Arrizabalaga are enjoying an extended period in the team.
Potter has taken Chelsea from bottom of their Champions League group to the top, courtesy of two impressive victories over AC Milan.
You wonder, however, if Chelsea’s European exploits with hurt them here, with Villa having had a full week to prepare for this one.
Still, Chelsea’s excellent record over Villa is there for all to see. They know they’ll be going up against a team that is not especially confident right now, and Chelsea will feel that they are there for the taking.
Star Man – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Aubameyang has now scored three goals in his five appearances since joining the club. If he stays fit and firing, he could reach 20 goals for the season, which would dramatically improve Chelsea’s chance of success.
Chelsea will dictate the play
Villa will have chances of their own
Can Villa’s attack finally link up?
There are too many quality players at Villa for this to continue for too much longer. Either the team will improve under Gerrard, or he will be replaced by someone who is better suited to getting the best out of them.
Here, Chelsea are undoubtedly the favourites. Their form under Potter is very good, and you feel that they will be too smart, too quick and too organised for Villa.
Villa will have chances of their own, but it probably won’t be enough.
Chelsea to win 2-0
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