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Lead up: Chelsea v Aston Villa

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Time to get back to work.

The international break is finally over -- congratulations, by the way, to Ghana for becoming the first African nation to win a major competition with a dramatic penalty shootout triumph over Brazil in the U-20 World Cup -- and Chelsea open the Premier League slate this weekend at Aston Villa.

This will be no easy task. Villa Park has traditionally been a bogey destination for the Blues; last February's 1-0 win represents our first there since the turn of the century. Villa, despite a somewhat surprising defeat to Blackburn, have been in a decent run of form. Three victories preceded the loss, while a draw with Manchester City -- a game Villa led for much of the night -- followed.

Chelsea, meanwhile, will be looking to further distance itself from the 3-1 loss to Wigan in their last league away match with back-to-back wins against top-6 sides.  If you recall, last time out, the Blues disposed of Liverpool 2-0 at Stamford Bridge. Beautiful.

Squad-sheets-A-Villa-v-Ch-001

Team News
Aston Villa

Doubtful: None
Injured: Bouma (fitness), Downing (ankle), Davies (shoulder)
Suspended: None
Last five matches: DLWWW
Disciplinary: Yellow 12, Red 0
Leading scorer: Agbonlahor 4

Chelsea
Doubtful: Bosingwa (hamstring), Alex (groin), Mikel (ankle)
Injured: Ballack (ankle)
Suspended: None
Last five matches: WLWWW
Disciplinary: Yellow 9, Red 1
Leading scorer: Drogba 6

Potent Potables

  • Aston Villa have won just once in its last 10 league matches against Chelsea
  • Chelsea have netted in 13 straight Prem matches (31 goals).
  • Villa are the only Premier League side not to have conceded a headed goal.
  • Nicolas Anelka loves the Villains. He's scored in his last three league matches against them.
  • Getting defensive. Half of the goals Chelsea have conceded this season have come via defenders