Aston Villa vs Chelsea
Competition: Barclays Premier League
Venue: Villa Park
Date: Saturday; April 2; 2016
Kick off: 11:45 GMT
Referee: Neil Swarbrick
Aston Villa’s quest to avoid relegation from the Premier League comes to the fore on Saturday as they host a Chelsea side still unbeaten in the league under Guus Hiddink.
The team news for the Villians is positive with Jack Grealish and Adama Traore back in training and available for selection having not featured since January.
The defending English champions are undoubtedly favourites here as Chelsea have won 7 of their last 8 games against Aston Villa across all competitions and they have not lost in the last 14 Premier League games, which has equalled the longest unbeaten run in the top-flight this season.
Given the circumstances surrounding their hosts and what is likely to be a tough atmosphere for Villa to play in, Hiddink may take the chance to experiment with his starting XI.
Aston Villa’s Premier League record: P31– W3– D7– L21
Chelsea’s Premier League record: P30– W10– D11– L9
Aston Villa’s Recent form (All competitions): L-L-L-L-L
Chelsea’s Recent form (All competitions): D-L-L-D-W
Head to Head Stats(Last 6 matches):
EPL 17-10-2015 Chelsea 2 : 0 Aston Villa
EPL 07-02-2015 Aston Villa 1 : 2 Chelsea
EPL 27-09-2014 Chelsea 3 : 0 Aston Villa
EPL 15-03-2014 Aston Villa 1 : 0 Chelsea
EPL 21-08-2013 Chelsea 2 : 1 Aston Villa
EPL 11-05-2013 Aston Villa 1 : 2 Chelsea
Aston Villa team news:
- Remi Garde was relieved of his duties in midweek having guided Villa to just 2 league wins in 20 matches, with Eric Black taking temporary charge until a replacement is found.
- A number of Villa’s first team players were again in the news for the wrong reasons this week and while a managerial change often inspires an upturn in results, that seems beyond this squad.
- The caretaker manager willo be able to call upon the likes of Adama Traore and Jack Grealish, with both having missed out for some time through injury, but Gabby Agbonlahor has been dropped in Micah Richards is also likely to miss out.
Chelsea team news:
- Guus Hiddink will be without Diego Costa once more through suspension and may view this game against the league’s bottom club as a chance to give some youngsters more playing time.
- Kenedy should be fit to start on the left following a head injury at West Ham and Ruben Loftus-Cheek could also get a start.
Chelsea predicted starting line-up: Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Fabregas, Mikel; Willian, Oscar, Kenedy; Remy
Aston Villa (from): Bunn, Guzan, Bacuna, Clark, Hutton, Lescott, Okore, Richards, Richardson, Gil, Gueye, Grealish, N’Zogbia, Sanchez, Sinclair, Veretout, Westwood, Ayew, Gestede, Traore.
Chelsea (from): Amelia, Begovic, Blackman, Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Rahman, Terry, Fabregas, Hazard, Loftus-Cheek, Matic, Mikel, Oscar, Traore, Willian, Falcao, Kenedy, Pato, Pedro, Remy.
Match facts (via Opta):
- Chelsea have won seven of the last eight Barclays Premier League meetings with Aston Villa (L1).
- The Blues are unbeaten in their last six league away matches (W4 D2), conceding just two goals in that run.
- Branislav Ivanovic has scored five BPL goals against Aston Villa, more than versus any other opponent.
- The opening goal has come in the first 15 minutes in six of the last eight top-flight matches between Villa and Chelsea.
Prediction: Aston Villa 0-2 Chelsea