HomeFootball NewsChelsea vs Aston Villa: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

Chelsea vs Aston Villa: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

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The State of Play

Chelsea have no European football this season so Mauricio Pochettino has to take advantage by taking the cup competitions seriously and moulding a cohesive unit. The Blues have been inconsistent throughout this campaign but their 6-1 demolition of Middlesbrough in the semi-finals of the EFL Cup on Tuesday will send them into this FA Cup fourth round tie with a lot more confidence than they have for a very long time with five victories in their last six matches across all competitions.

Unai Emery and Aston Villa, on the other hand, are involved in a genuine title race in the Premier League, as well as the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa Conference League in March. The Villains, though, have continued to grind out results recently, despite performances taking a dip. Their goalless draw at Everton a fortnight ago, the first 0-0 draw of the Emery era, means that Villa have suffered just one defeat in their last 14 matches across all competitions.

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Team News

The Blues welcomed back Ben Chilwell into their starting line-up on Tuesday evening and the England international should retain his place after being rested on the night, coming off in the 65th minute for Alfie Gilchrist. The fitness of Christopher Nkunku remains unclear but he is not expected to return to the match day squad just yet.

Aston Villa have been suffering with injury issues to key defenders, such as Pau Torres and Lucas Digne, but Torres is expected to be involved on Friday evening, whilst Jacob Ramsey could also return. They will now be without Leander Dendoncker after the Belgian international completed a loan move to Napoli earlier this week.

Expected Line-ups

Chelsea: Petrovic; Disasi, Silva, Colwill; Chilwell; Caicedo, Fernandez; Sterling, Palmer, Mudryk; Broja

Aston Villa: Martinez; Konsa, Carlos, Torres, Alex Moreno; Bailey, Kamara, Luiz, McGinn; Diaby, Watkins

What they Said

Mauricio Pochettino appears to be in a positive mood at the moment and he has suggested that is the case with his players, too. “The victories and positive energy help motivate and create a different atmosphere. Always you need victories to build confidence and you can beat any team.”

The talk in the build-up has begun to be dominated over Chelsea’s reported pursuit of Aston Villa forward, Jhon Duran. Unai Emery has confirmed that Duran will be unavailable for this one: “The last action against Everton he was injured. For the next weeks he is not going to be available.”

When and How to Watch

This game will take place at Stamford Bridge at 20:00 on Friday January 26th but will not be shown live on television in the UK.

Prediction

Chelsea have begun to show what has been missing this season and that is a bit of consistency. Generally, performances have remained underwhelming even when they have been winning but they put together a potent and incisive display against Championship opposition on Tuesday to reach the EFL Cup final. Aston Villa are extremely difficult to defeat and are capable of toppling anyone in England. They do perhaps have other priorities but will at least be confident of bloodying the nose of their hosts on Friday and both teams scoring, therefore, would appear quite likely.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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