Unbeaten in five, with four wins in a row, and the last three having kept a clean sheet, Chelsea come into this game in good form and high spirits, sitting fourth in the league, with a game-in-hand over the three ahead of us. Our opponents meanwhile have one win in six (albeit just two defeats) and are languishing just two points above the relegation zone. Only one team have scored fewer goals than Villa, though they’ve conceded just one goal more than Chelsea.
So, classic trap game, away to an underperforming talented team, with tougher (on-paper) tests awaiting the Blues in the next few weeks before we break for some World Cup action.
Date / Time: Sunday, October 16, 2022, 14.00 BST; 9am EDT; 6:30pm IST
Venue: Villa Park, Birmingham, England
Referee: Robert Jones (on pitch); Stuart Attwell (VAR)
Forecast: Somewhat sunny with a slight breeze
On TV: Sky Sports Main Event (UK); none (USA); none? (India); none? (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: Sky Go (UK); Peacock (USA); Hotstar VIP (India); SuperSport GOtv (NGA)
Aston Villa team news: Steve Gerrard is the bookies’ current favorite for next manager sacked in the Premier League, with the Liverpool legend just eleven months into the job but with his results trending the wrong direction. After just a 14th-place finish last season, they are currently 16th at the quarter-mark of the season.
Villa have been one of the league’s biggest spenders in recent years, and another £50m was dropped this summer on the likes of Philippe Coutinho (turning his loan permanent), Leander Dendoncker, and Diego Carlos — who ruptures his Achilles just a couple games into his move from Sevilla. Some of the net spend was of course offset with the £20m we gave them for Carney Chukwuemeka.
There is some good news for Villa with the return of Leon Bailey from injury. He’s tied for the team lead in goal scored with 2 (all competitions), with forward Danny Ings and corner-specialist Douglas Luiz. Boubacar Kamara, Lucas Digne, and Ludwig Augustinsson have been ruled out alongside the aforementioned Diego Carlos.
View from the enemy: 7500 To Holte
Chelsea team news: Speaking of injuries, all fingers and other appendages are crossed as we await the outcome of Reece James’ visit with a knee specialist this weekend. Even if the news is
good not-catastrophic, he’s likely to be ruled out for a few weeks at least. Wesley Fofana and N’Golo Kanté aren’t expected to play before the World Cup either, with the latter potentially out for a few more months, even, after suffering a setback on his hamstring.
Chelsea could also be without Mason Mount, who’s dealing with some sort of thigh problem. Hakim Ziyech should be back from his bout of illness however, giving Graham Potter some rotation options, should he choose to do so again, like last weekend.
Previously: Chelsea have won four of our last five visits to Villa Park, including the 3-1 on Boxing Day last year, when Romelu Lukaku came on at half-time and changed the game