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Preview : Aston Villa Vs Chelsea

As the race for the premier league crown and survival heats up, where teams are hassling and battling for points. Aston Villa are set to host Chelsea on Saturday, in what promises to be an attacking game of football, with both teams in need of a victory to save their season from falling apart. The two teams played out a 0-0 stalemate last time around which does not delineate the amount of chances which were scuffed by the teams due to some wasteful finishing by both sets of players.

Villa have lacked consistency and are languishing in 15th position in the league. Having said that, Alex Mcleish’s men would be optimistic about their chances, having beaten the Blues 3-1 at Stamford Bridge on new year’s eve. However, a change in management has rejuvenated the Blues, who are currently in 5th, and will be hoping to take a step closer to the final Champions League position.

TEAM NEWS :

Aston Villa have struggled at home all season long with just two wins under their belt in their last 10 home games. A 3-0 defeat in the hands of Arsenal at the Emirates has further heaped pressure on manager Alex Mcleish with supporters rallying for his head. The midlands team have been plagued with injuries and are without the services of record signing Darren Bent, who is still recuperating from his ankle injury. Richard Dunne who is nursing an injured shoulder, and Alan Hutton (calf) are unavailable for selection. Cieran Clark has trained with the team and will take his place in the heart of defence alongside James Collins. Carlos Cuellar might be deployed at right-back. Charles N’zogbia and Jermaine Jenas remain long term absentees.

Chelsea have been quite poor on the road, with a record of just five wins to their name, along with five draws and five losses, scoring 18 goals while conceding 15. However, the Blues have had a reversal of fortunes lately, having won five of their last seven games in all competitions, including a hard fought 1-0 away victory against Benfica in midweek. Branislav Ivanovic has recovered from his thigh strain and is available for selection. John Terry and Mata might be rested and Ramires who picked up a knock in Lisbon, is likely to make way for Daniel Sturridge on the right hand side of attack. Michael Essien and Frank Lampard are expected to be back in the starting line up after being dropped to the bench in midweek. Fernando Torres might get the nod ahead of  Didier Drogba following the Spaniard’s impressive display in the Champions League.

PROBABLE LINE-UPS :

Aston Villa (4-4-1-1) :
Given , Cuellar , Collins , Clark , Warnock , Herd , Petrov , Agbonlahor , Albrighton , Ireland , Heskey.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1) :

Cech , Ivanovic , Luiz , Cahill , Cole , Essien , Lampard , Meireles , Sturridge , Kalou , Torres.


LAST FIVE MEETINGS :

FA Cup – 10/04/2010 : Aston Villa 0-3 Chelsea
EPL – 16/10/2010 : Aston Villa 0-0 Chelsea
EPL – 02/01/2011 : Chelsea 3-3 Aston Villa
Preseason – 30/07/2011 : Aston Villa 0-2 Chelsea
EPL – 31/12/2011 : Chelsea 1-3 Aston Villa

CURRENT FORM :

Aston Villa : L – D – D – W – L

Chelsea : W – W – L – D – W

Prediction :
At home, Aston Villa have always been a tough opponent to break down, but the amount of experience and depth in the Chelsea set up, the hosts are clearly underdogs going into the game. It is going to be an evenly contested game but i’m going to go with a 3-1 victory in favour of Chelsea.

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