Prediction for Chelsea - Aston Villa
Chelsea are only ahead of Aston Villa on goal difference in the Premier League table.
And I find it hard to believe that the bookies have them as favorites with such low odds to win.
While Graham Potter is under constant pressure to improve results.
His colleague Unai Emery has settled in well at Villa and is earning plenty of plaudits .
The London Lions have produced one good thing so far this season.
And that's their qualification for the quarter-finals of the Champions League after eliminating Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund.
In fact, lifting the trophy in the Champions League could prove to be the only way for the Blues to reach the European stage next year.
As they were relegated from both domestic cups. And in the championship, they only have theoretical chances to reach the Europe zone.
Aston Villa got off to a bad start. As at one point in the 2022/23 season they were seriously threatened with relegation.
But after the intervention of the club's management and the appointment of Unai Emery at the helm, it is now much calmer.
I expect the Villans to fight for at least a point today against a hesitant Chelsea.
Chelsea stabilize (3-1-0)
There was genuine hope that Chelsea had turned the tide when they ended a six-match winless run with a trio of wins.
The Blues secured Premier League triumphs over Leeds and Leicester.
And they beat Borussia Dortmund to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
However, Graham Potter's position has once again come under close scrutiny.
After relegation-threatened Everton twice fell behind to draw 2-2 in London.
Potter's decision to replace the impressive Joao Felix late in the game and adopt a more passive approach backfired.
When Ellis Sims equalized in the 89th minute.
Chelsea have led at half-time just once in their last 11 Premier League matches.
And there could be another shaky start here after the international break.
Aston Villa are also in form (3-1-0)
Villa took advantage of a favorable run of games to take 10 points from a possible 12 before the break.
The Midlands outfit secured wins over Everton, Crystal Palace and Bournemouth, along with a draw away to West Ham.
Unai Emery welcomed the 3-0 home win against the Cherries in the last round as:
"Maybe the best 90 minutes we've played here since I arrived."
He added: “We controlled the ball game.
We look up. It is important to have big ambitions and face big challenges.
The next step is the Top 10.
But if we are ambitious, we will want to go further, to look at the teams in the European positions.
Of course, it is not in our hands to take a European place, but we must try .
We must accept this new challenge.”
Aston Villa made a real splash when they signed the former Valencia, Sevilla, PSG, Arsenal and Villarreal manager.
And he certainly made quite an impression.
Squads and injured footballers
Lineup: Kepa; Badiashile, Coulibaly, Cucurella; James, Fernandes, Kovacic, Chilwell; Mudrick, Havertz, Felix
Injured: Broja, Silva
Questionable: Havertz, James, Mount, Aubameyang, Sterling, Mendy, Fofana, Azpilicueta
Lineup: Martinez; Yang, Konsa, Mings, Moreno; McGinn, Louis; Bailey, Buendia, Ramsay; Watkins
Injured: Cash, Steer, Kamara, Dendoncker, Coutinho
Results of past matches
|Aston Villa 1:0 Chelsea
|Aston Villa 0:2 Chelsea
|Aston Villa 1:3 Chelsea
|Chelsea 1:1 (4:3 d.) Aston Villa
|Chelsea 3:0 Aston Villa
|Aston Villa 2:1 Chelsea