MATCH PREVIEW: CHELSEA FC VS ASTON VILLA
Chelsea started their Premier League campaign in an emphatic fashion as they defeated the newly promoted Hull City Tigers by a 2-0 margin in Jose Mourinho’s return to the Stamford Bridge. The scoreline doesn’t do much justice to the manner Chelsea started the game, completely ripping apart Hull defense at an exhilarating tempo. The first half was a display of fluid exchange of passes & intelligent movement among the front six. Chelsea, however, ended the game in a “typical Mourinho” way closing out the match once the points were secured.
Next up are Aston Villa, who emerged as shock but deserving winners at the Emirates on the opening day of the Premier League. Villa definitely benefitted from certain official decisions & the injuries to some of the Gunner fans. However, their 3-1 win over Arsenal will give their confidence a boost before the mid-week clash.
The match was initially scheduled to happen on August 31, 2013, but has been rescheduled due to Chelsea’s Super Cup tie against Bayern Munchen.
Let us take a look at the information we need before the match.
DATE & TIME: August 21, 2013 at 14:45 EDT; August 21, 2013 at 18:45 GMT; August 21, 2013 at 19:45 BST; August 21, 2013 at 19:45 WAT; August 21, 2013 at 20:45 CAT; August 21, 2013 at 21:45 EAT; August 22, 2013 at 00:15 IST.
VENUE: Stamford Bridge, London, United Kingdom.
TV/STREAMING NEWS: Chelsea TV will stream the game live. The match will be telecast live on Fox Sports 2 in Australia, Sportsnet World in Canada, Canal+ Sport in France, Sky Go in Germany, Star Sports & ESPN HD in India, Fox Sports HD in Italy, GolT & Canal+ Fútbol in Spain, Al Jazeera Sport HD1 in UAE, NBC Sports Network in USA.
CHELSEA FC SQUAD NEWS: Mourinho has confirmed that David Luiz, who has been struggling with a hamstring injury & was not in match-day squad against Hull City, will miss this clash as well. Juan Mata is fit, although he might not play the entire 90 minutes. Tomas Kalas is still out.
PREDICTED STARTING XI: Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Terry(C), Cole,
Ramires, van Ginkel, de Bruyne, Oscar, Mata, Lukaku.
ASTON VILLA SQUAD NEWS: Villa have injury concerns in Yacouba Sylla(twisted ankle), Nathan Baker(foot/ankle injury), Charles N’Zogbia and Chris Herd. Villa’s latest acquisition in defense Okore might not start as he missed most of the pre-season friendlies.
PREDICTED STARTING XI: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Luna, El Ahmadi, Westwood, Delph, Agbonlahor, Benteke, Weimann.
REFEREE: Kevin Friend
TACTICAL OVERVIEW: The strength of the Villaians lies in counter-attack as they have got some extremely able attackers in their squad. All three of Villa’s goals against Arsenal were the fruits of productive counter-attack, although two of them came from penalties. Benteke can be as good as any striker on the planet on his day. Delph played exceptionally well against Chelsea’s London rivals and is expected to pull the strings from the Villa midfield. Aston Villa’s defense is their weakest link and Chelsea should not have too many problems in unlocking it, especially with all our attackers fit. However, the Blues need to finish well or else Villa could punish them later in the game, just like they did against Arsenal.
v Chelsea & Aston Villa are tied at 50-50 in their headed encounters in the league.
v Last season Chelsea inflicted Villa’s heaviest defeat home & away when Rafa Benitez’s team won 8-0 at Stamford Bridge.
v Frank Lampard scored his record-breaking 203rd goal against Aston Villa in the reverse fixture last season.
IN A NUTSHELL: Chelsea have a wonderful opportunity to open up a three point lead on the top of the table if they win this game. It could prove pivotal in the title race, more so because the Blues travel to Old Trafford coming Monday to meet Manchester United in their first big match of the season. Last but not the least, Aston Villa, in spite of their marked improvement under Lambert, is a team to be embroiled in relegation battles come next March and hence, three points from such an opposition has to be guaranteed if Chelsea choose to mount a challenge for the Premier League title.