Chelsea vs Aston Villa – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Saturday 1st April 2023
As part of our weekend Premier League predictions, we take a look at Aston Villa’s visit to Chelsea. With both sides pushing for Europe, this is yet another 6 pointer. Read on with our Chelsea vs Aston Villa prediction.
Chelsea vs Aston Villa Match Preview
Chelsea meet Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge in both teams’ first match following the international break for Euro 2024 qualifying. The Blues have seen a slight resurgence in form in recent weeks in what has been a turgid season. Indeed, they are unbeaten in their previous four games in all competitions, which included a victory over Dortmund to secure a Champions League quarter-final tie against Real Madrid. In the league, they have defeated Leeds and Leicester – however, a home draw with Everton before the break was disappointing, given the Toffees’ struggles.
At home, Chelsea have been underwhelming this season. While they have dominated many games at Stamford Bridge (and plenty away, for that matter), they have had issues converting their chances. This has resulted in Chelsea winning fewer than half of their home games (six of 13). They have also only scored a paltry 16 goals in these games. Therefore, to have a solid climax to the season, they have to continue improving their form. They are in tenth place with only 38 points from 27 games, so qualifying for Europe through the league looks unlikely (though they could theoretically win the Champions League).
Aston Villa travel south in good form themselves. Indeed, they have obtained 10 points from the previous twelve, including wins against Everton, Crystal Palace and Bournemouth. Villa have picked up 20 points in 2023, the third-highest in the division. Hence, they are doing well, which is to be expected under a talented coach like Unai Emery (who replaced Steven Gerrard). They appear to be on an upward trajectory, but things can change quickly in football.
For the moment, however, Villa are performing admirably. The 3-0 win over Bournemouth was emphatic, and xG stats showed that the scoreline did not flatter the Birmingham club. Villa will look to resume their momentum following the break. They have won four of their 13 games on the road this season, so they are not a particularly impressive team on their travels. However, there are worse sides in the division in this respect than them, and Chelsea have suffered losses at Stamford Bridge against worse teams this season. In the eleventh place with 38 points from 27 games, Villa are safe and will try to finish as high as possible.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Fofana, James, Mount, Sterling, Aubameyang, Havertz
Will Not Play: Silva, Broja
Might Not Play: Kamara, Dendoncker
Will Not Play: Steer, Cash, Coutinho
Chelsea vs Aston Villa Lineups (Predicted)
Chelsea (3-4-3): Arrizabalaga; Badiashile, Fofana, Koulibaly; Chilwell, Kovacic, Fernandez, James; Mudryk, Felix, Havertz
Aston Villa (4-2-3-1): Martinez; Moreno, Mings, Konsa, Young; Luiz, Kamara; Ramsey, Buendia, Bailey; Watkins
Chelsea vs Aston Villa Analysis
Chelsea Will Control Possession
Chelsea have averaged 59 per cent possession to Villa’s 49 per cent in the league, so it is logical to assume that Chelsea will have most of the ball, particularly on home turf. Villa like conceding the ball and playing on the counter, so Chelsea must take care of it in midfield and try to play through Villa’s defensive shape with short, incisive passes and crosses. Graham Potter will likely line his side up in their usual 3-4-3 formation. Many injuries still hamper Chelsea, but they still have a massive squad to choose from.
Enzo Fernandez and Kovacic in midfield are the heart and engine of this team, and they must try to get the ball down and play, looking to set the tempo and dictate matters. They must be brave on the ball and not allow Villa to press them and win the ball in dangerously high positions. Kovacic is particularly adept at performing in tight spaces and finding gaps where seemingly none exist. He could be crucial in helping Chelsea find their creative players in the final third.
As ever, James (if fit) and Chilwell will get up and down the pitch, as both players are integral to Chelsea’s attacking game plan. Both have been out for long spells this season. However, when they’re available to play, their raiding down the flanks and ability to link up with the wingers and deliver crosses are massive weapons at Chelsea’s disposal. The wide players will likely be the pacey Mudryk or Pulisic and Havertz as a false winger. Felix will play the false nine role, but he and Havertz will interchange to keep the Villa defence guessing. This clever movement, aided by precise passing and crossing, should allow Chelsea chances to test Martinez in the Villa goal.
Aston Villa Will Look To Attack With Pace On The Counter
Villa have pace to burn and plenty of creativity and inventiveness in their forward line. Assuming their back four can stay compact and solid and not allow Chelsea to take the game away from them, Villa are well primed to play a counter-attacking game here. Watkins has been in excellent form recently; even though we have Emery lining his side up in a 4-2-3-1, formations are fluid. Watkins often drifts into that left channel where he can use his pace and trickery and do much damage.
The pace, work rate, and technical ability of Bailey, Buendia and Ramsey will also pose a massive threat to the Chelsea defence. This is especially true if James and Chilwell are caught upfield, so the ability of Fernandez and Kovacic to plug gaps out wide will be critical. If Villa can win the ball in dangerous positions, they have enough guile to hurt Chelsea (even without Coutinho). Hence, Chelsea will be playing a high-risk-high-reward game. Young and Moreno will also look to supplement the Villa attack, and it will be the responsibility of Kamara and Luiz to retain their shape and be disciplined but also cleverly choose their moments to press. The battle in midfield will likely be enjoyable.
Whatever happens, Villa won’t want to go a goal down. Chelsea will gain confidence if they go ahead, and Villa will have to come out and play a game where the onus is on them to have more of the ball to get back into the game. In this case, Chelsea could pick them off with their own transitions. So the first goal is vital here.
Both teams have done well recently, and Villa are quality operators. They are somewhat inconsistent, and with the quality of their players, they could have attained more points. However, they appear to be finding their groove under Emery. Chelsea must be wary of the Birmingham club’s threat on transitions and ability to press in midfield. If Chelsea are on their game and their technical players link up well, navigating and bypassing the press, they could attain a positive result.
Villa will feel confident coming to Stamford Bridge. There is no doubt that they have a real chance of getting at least a point here (maybe even a win) because we are still unconvinced that Chelsea’s recent resurgence will last. However, Chelsea are taking more of their chances recently and have scored five in their last two league games. Chelsea won the reverse fixture, and we envisage them just about winning a close game here. However, Villa will certainly fancy their chances, given their recent performances.
Chelsea 2-1 Aston Villa
Chelsea vs Aston Villa Betting Tip – Chelsea Odds:
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