With a vital 3 points on the line for both teams this match is bound to be both challenging and interesting. Don’t let Villa’s bottom of the table status fool you; we are on their turf, and they desperately want to put some distance between them and the relegation zone. Not to mention, they’ll probably be looking to avenge the honour they shamefully lost against us right before Christmas in the 8-0 mauling.
Not to be pessimistic, but its highly doubtful that Chelsea will be able to pull off such a feat at this point in the season. For once it can actually be said that Villa are on form and even pose a threat. Winning a few games in recent weeks (including a 6-1 thrashing of Sunderland) it’s highly probable that we’ll concede at least a goal to the home side, a goal most likely belonging to Christian Benteke who has been absolutely stunning as of late.
With one eye on the Europa League final, Rafa Benetiz will again be looking to rotate his weary squad. Although, at this point in the season, with only three games left, a final to win and a top 4 position to maintain, I doubt the players won’t be able to manage one final push. Although he’s not known for it, hopefully Rafa won’t start a weak side to save fresh legs for Wednesday. Chelsea needs to start some good defenders, such as John terry who has been benched the past few games. Benetiz has confirmed that he will start Frank Lampard while there is concern per the fitness of both Eden Hazard and Victor Moses. Moses’ Nigerian compatriot Mikkel trained yesterday which may mean he could feature with Lampard, pushing David Luiz back into midfield. It would be surprising and quite frankly reckless is Rafa were to start Torres over Ba. Torres has been on form in the past weeks, with and without the mask, most recently putting in some good work at Tottenham on Wednesday. He also featured for a short time at Old Trafford. Not to mention we need El Nino badly in the Europa League and we simply cannot have him running up and down for 90 minutes when we have another perfectly good striker available.
As I always say before games in such close succession, it would not be surprising if Nathan Ake were granted a rare start. He’s shown he can fit in the pivot or as a defender which will be extremely useful to the team.
With only one win necessary to secure a Champions league spot next season, Chelsea will be looking to grab all three points here after Wednesday’s game failed to provide clarity on Champions League qualification. They’ll also be looking to maintain an away winning streak against Villa after last season’s 4-2 fixture. All in all this is a must win game, for pride, for confidence, and for Champions League.
My predicted line up is as follows:
Azpilicueta,Terry, Luiz, Cole
Oscar, Mata, Moses
Score Prediction: 3-1 to Chelsea