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Chelsea vs. Aston Villa: Team news, TV & streaming information, preview

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Chelsea look to maintain our early lead in the Premier League with three points at home against upstart Aston Villa.

Jose "This is my innocent face" Mourinho
Jose "This is my innocent face" Mourinho
Jamie McDonald

Unlike most previews of this fixture -- here or elsewhere -- this year, the year before, or the year before that, this preview will not mention all the crazy score-lines that have gone down recently between the Blues and whatever unholy combination of colors Villa call their own.

So, there definitely won't be any mentions of the 8-0 or the 7-1, or the 4-2 or the 3-3 or the 4-4, and most definitely no mention of the 1-3 home loss.  And I'd have be an utter fool, not to mention a glutton for cruel and unusual punishment, to even think about bringing up the 0-1 away loss at Villa Park to Chris Foy last spring.

No sirree, Bob.  None of that nonsense here!  Most definitely not.  None at all whatsoever.

Date / Time: Saturday, September 27, 2014, 15:00 BST; 10am EDT; 7:30pm IST

Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6

Referee: Phil Dowd - From 2009/10 through about 2011/12, Phil Dowd was bad, bad luck for us, as Chelsea won just 3 of 11 matches refereed by the now 51-year-old (which makes him the second oldest referee at the highest level in England).  The streak was broken by the 2-1 win in the 2012 FA Cup final; including that result, Chelsea have won 8 of 9, with only last year's 2-0 loss at the Etihad in the FA Cup the lone exception.  Among those eight, fittingly enough, is the 8-0 that I said won't be mentioned in the introduction.

Forecast: Cloudy but dry and not too cold.

On TV: none (UK); NBC Sports Premier League Extra Time (USA); Star Sports 2 (India)

Online: NBC Sports Live ExtraStar Sports (India)

Chelsea team news: As we learned earlier, Ramires is our only planned absentee; his abductor injury will have kept him out for at least a month by the time he returns after the mid-October international break.  More importantly, Diego Costa will be back now after having started just once in the last three and having seen his goalscoring streak come to an end as well against Man City.  Time to start a new one, I suppose.

This match will be our 4000th league game (2000th home league game) -- that's a lot of games in a little over a decade, no?  Should we win, Mourinho will claim second place all for himself on the all-time list of career Chelsea wins.  He's currently tied with Dave Sexton on 164.  Jose will also mark a quarter millennium of games in charge of the Blues (7th all-time).

Aston Villa team news: Villa were struck down by illness and then a 0-3 home loss to Arsenal last weekend; surely manager Paul Lambert will be looking for a positive response from that.  While most the squad has recovered, Lambert will still be without the services of Christian Benteke and the deceptively speedy Ron Vlaar, both missing through injury.  Rumors of Philippe Senderos having gone into hiding at the sight/return of Didier Drogba are untrue however.

Villa have started the season surprisingly well, and currently sit third in the league.  In terms of goals scored and conceded, the visitors have one of the best defenses and one of the worst attacks in the early going.  Perhaps all that will dovetail nicely into a classic 2-0 Mourinho win for us.

View from the enemy: 7500 to Holte

Previously: In the best-of-149 series, it's winner take all, as the two teams are deadlocked at 57 wins each (with 34 draws).  Oh boy!