I was in the middle of a 36-hour period of wakefulness that included an Ed Sheeran concert, a 5am flight, a 4-hour drive, and a multi-hour hike through Arches National Park, when Chelsea last played, so the 0-0 draw against Bournemouth didn’t quite register as impactfully in my consciousness as it may have for others.
But I gather there was some angst.
There’s usually angst when things aren’t going well, and things are going particularly great at the moment. I’d argue that they aren’t bad, but there’s no argument that they’re not great. There is a plan and there is an end-goal, and we’re working towards it, but we’re not going to get there tomorrow, next week, or perhaps even this season.
Can we handle that?
Five points from five games with five goals scored and five goals conceded and just one solitary win is no one’s idea of a great time, project or no project, progress or no progress, positivity or no positivity.
A win this weekend would be nice.
Date / Time: Sunday, September 24, 2023, 14.00 BST; 9am EDT; 6:30pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Jarred Gillett (on pitch); Andy Madley (VAR)
Forecast: Breezy, rainy
On TV: none (UK); none (USA); none (India); SuperSport Variety 2 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: none (UK); Peacock (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA) — viewing options appear to be limited despite the Sunday scheduling, with three other games kicking off in this timeslot for various reasons
Chelsea team news: The injured players are making progress in their individual recoveries, but no major boost is expected for this game just yet. Marc Cucurella is back from his illness and may be gifted some minutes for the first time this season, and Armando Broja may be ready to feature for the first time nine months. Noni Madueke’s said to be fit but Moisés Caicedo is doubtful, and everyone else is still out, including Benoît Badiashile, who’s suffered a minor setback.
With results not being up to scratch, the probings and proddings for palpable discord have already begun. Thiago Silva sulking. Enzo not ready to be a leader. Gallagher not my captain. Pochettino and the case of the left backs. Todd Boehly anything.
It’s all a bit silly in the end, true or not, important or not, relevant or not. The only way to make them go away is to win.
Aston Villa team news: Villa have played eight games already this season, including four in Europe, and only one of those eight were decided by a one-goal margin. They’ve won and lost games by four-goal, three-goal, and two-goal margins, and also beat Hibs 5-0 in the Europa Conference League qualifier leg. Which Villa might show up this Sunday is anyone’s guess.
They come in on the back of a disappointing 3-2 defeat in Warsaw on Thursday, which followed a late-late show against Crystal Palace last weekend to win 3-1. Prior to that, before the international break, they got smacked around by Liverpool, 3-0. They do score goals in bunches, and also concede them at almost the same rate. We could be in for an exciting one — if we can score that is.
Emiliano Buendía, Tyrone Mings, and Diego Carlos are set to miss out for the visitors, while former Blue, Bertrand Traoré faces a late fitness test.
Previously: Villa won this fixture, 2-0, back in April, which was their first competitive win against us in five tries.