Chelsea were stunned on Boxing Day but face tough Aston Villa test
Chelsea to win 3-1
Frank Lampard’s Chelsea have been brought back down to Earth in recent weeks, after flying high near the top of the table they have lost for the third time in four matches to slide down the league.
Everton, Wolves and now Arsenal have defeated Chelsea in recent matches, with The Blues struggling to keep up the pace at the top. The quality within their squad is too good to be down for long, but bouts of inconsistency will trouble Lampard who must start to get his team selections right.
They are still in close contention for the top four, but must start to win games again.
Aston Villa continue to surprise many this season – following their win over Crystal Palace on Boxing Day, they sit 6th in the table, quite a change from battling relegation at the end of last season.
The Villains will not be a pushover here, and Chelsea will need to return to their best to pick up the points.
Form Guide (all comps): DLLWL
Reasons to be cheerful:
Have the quality to blow teams away at their best
Won 10 out of the last 11 matches against Villa
Reasons to be fearful:
Recent defeats show worrying weaknesses
Lack of goalscorers recently
Chelsea have been banging in the goals this season – in fact, only Liverpool in the Premier League have scored more than the Blues.
However, just recently scoring opportunities have been a little harder to come by. The went down without scoring against Everton and, although they put three past West Ham, they only managed one against an Arsenal side who are closer to the bottom of the table than the top.
Since the start of last season, Tammy Abraham has been Chelsea’s best scorer in the league, with his 21 goals more than twice as many as anyone else. This just highlights their lack of scoring options recently, despite all the money Frank Lampard and the Chelsea board have spent on buying new players.
They must be on form to beat this well-drilled, energetic Villa side.
Star Man – Tammy Abraham
Has taken back the centre forward role after losing it to Olivier Giroud of late – he now has eight league goals.
Form Guide (all comps): LWDWW
Reasons to be cheerful
Players are in phenomenal form
Variety of goalscorers is benefitting side
Reasons to be fearful
Chelsea will bounce back strongly after defeat
Poor record against Chelsea
Aston Villa come into this match a place ahead of Chelsea in the league table, a place they have earned after a string of good performances and results to match.
Despite having Tyrone Mings sent off for the second half, Villa were able to cruise to a 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace, providing them with their 3rd win from their last four matches and shooting them up on the verge of the Champions League places.
If they were to win their two games in hand, they would rise up as high as 2nd, though plenty of tough matches are approaching.
They’ll do well to beat Chelsea, but they have several in form players who can help them do it – Grealish, El Ghazi and Traore are all netting consistently.
Star Man – Anwar El Ghazi
The winger has four goals in his last four Premier League appearances.
Chelsea will be favourites despite form
Both sides are likely to score
Either side could move into the top four with a win
The feeling is that when Chelsea really click into gear, there are few teams who can hold them back. Unfortunately, whether it has been team selection, or attitude, The Blues have faltered at times.
Aston Villa have none of the selection dilemmas that Chelsea face, they just put out their best team and work their socks off.
Despite recent form, Chelsea are favourites to win.
Chelsea to win 3-1