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Predicted Chelsea lineup against Aston Villa: Is it folly to expect anything different?

Start the kids! Hahaha April Fools.

Alex Morton/Getty Images

Thirty games down, eight games to go.  Eight long games, with nothing to fight for.  Okay, maybe very little to fight for, but we'd have to be pretty much perfect the rest of the way to make a serious run at the top 4-6, and based on what's come so far, that's highly unlikely, to say the least.

In a different season the Blues' 2-2 home draw with West Ham a fortnight ago would be a disappointment but, sadly, this an indifferent one and, in that context, to come back twice against a top-five side can be considered a good result.

-source: Chelsea FC

There's a sobering thought for you from the official Chelsea website's preview.

Given what we've accomplished so far, and what little we can accomplish the rest of the way, one would assume that squad selections would be purely motivated by a view towards the future.  That would, first and foremost, mean playing the youth, and rotating the veterans around them.  And since many of the latter will also be involved in summer tournaments, they would perhaps welcome a bit of rest, too.  (Right, Willian?)  Sure, everybody wants to play every game, but perhaps we can test a few things, try out a few things, see whether Matt Miazga is truly as terrible as he showed for USA U23 against Colombia, see if Alexandre Pato is a real human being or just a marketing cutout, play Kenedy, Traoré, Loftus-Cheek as much as possible, etc.

So of course, we will probably roll with the usual suspects.  Minus the injured Eden Hazard (as confirmed by Hiddink in the press conference just now) and the suspended Diego Costa (who was back in training).  For what it's worth, Hiddink also said that Oscar, Willian, and Traoré only returned from international duty today, so that might factor in.

Courtois | Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic | Mikel, Fàbregas | Pedro, Oscar, Willian | Rémy

I didn't realize Costa would be suspended for this game, so I had included him in the 'choose the lineup' exercise.  Ignoring that gaffe, the community would roll with a far more exciting lineup than my prediction.

Courtois | Baba, Terry, Cahill, Azpilicueta | Loftus-Cheek, Fàbregas | Kenedy, Willian, Pedro | Traoré

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