Jose Mourinho on Villa:
“Aston Villa are a good team and they can beat anyone. We always expect the big teams to win their matches, but we cannot win all the time. It happened to Arsenal in this match. The second fixture we will probably see another contender lose points. That’s the beauty of this league. But Aston Villa can do this to any if us. Away from home they have the qualities to play counter attacking football as they did at the Emirates.”
Ron Vlaar on growing confidence:
“We all know what happened last year, so we want to put that to rest. We learnt a lot and we still have to learn a lot, but mentally we became a stronger team.”
Angry Lambert on rescheduled fixtures:
“We had about 45 different explanations – but I don’t know if one of them is true. I don’t get it. Would have it been different if it had been the other way round? Possibly, yes, are you talking about big club syndrome?”
Match Difficulty Grade
A+ An altogether different proposition than the Arsenal game, especially with the return of Mourinho creating a big buzz at Stamford Bridge. With talk of Chelsea’s title-winning potential, there will be few tougher tests in the Premier League this season.
Do you remember New Year’s Eve, 2011? You should do – McLeish’s Villa side beat Chelsea 3-1 with goals from Ireland, Petrov and Bent. It was to be the last nail in the AVB coffin.
Chelsea: Last five Premier League matches at home: W 4, D 1
Aston Villa: Last five Premier League matches away: W 3, D 1, L 1
In the last five meetings at Stamford Bridge, Villa have won once, drawn once and lost three times.
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
We all know about the misfortunes Villa have suffered at Stamford Bridge in the past, and we haven’t kept a clean sheet there since 1998. Yes, we’ve had some success there over the past few years but the two heavy defeats (8-0 and 7-1, if you need reminding) remain in the back of the mind.
Worryingly, Chelsea have scored a whopping 19 goals in the last four Villa encounters at Stamford Bridge. Chris Herd and Yacouba Sylla (fit) remain unlikely to play a part due to injuries, while Nathan Baker is confirmed to miss the game.
What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide
A couple of Villa players have spoken to the press of their desire to make amends for the thrashing last December and their words do seem sincere – especially after seeing the spirit they showed at the Emirates last Saturday. It was a day in which Villa seemed to take the ‘underdog’ tag in their stride, and with big teams fans have big expectations. If Villa start to make the home crowd edgy as we did at the weekend, the Mourinho factor might be halted and things could go our way.
Why Villa have got this game in the bag
There was undeniable progress made last season, progress that was demonstrated in the contrast between last season’s Chelsea fixtures. Away from home and early in the season we were a shambles. At Villa Park however, during the last home fixture of the season, we gave them a good game and suffered an unfortunate narrow defeat. Also, didn’t Villa used to be a bit of a bogey team for Mourinho?
Certainly, we always did OK against them at Villa Park. Hull struggled as Chelsea’s first visitors last weekend but Villa will know what to expect. With new additions to the squad and an improved mentality developing within the Villa camp (especially after the win at the Emirates added to our decent away form) we could spring our second shock of the season and take home all three points.Published 20 Aug 2013, 18:52 IST