Competition: Premier League – Aston Villa vs. Chelsea
Venue: Villa Park – Saturday, April 2 – 12:45 BST (07:45 ET)
Match Odds: Aston Villa 11/2 – Draw 3/1 – Chelsea 8/15
Aston Villa and Chelsea kickstart this weekend’s Premier League action at Villa Park in the early kickoff on Saturday, with Villa looking to end a run of six defeats on the bounce against the reigning champions.
The problems at the club seem irreparable this season and the sacking of manager Remi Garde on Tuesday may be the signifier that Villa are already preparing for life in the Championship next season, rather than prolonging the fight for survival. Eric Black will take temporary charge of the first-team for now.
Sitting rock bottom on 16 points is no place for a club of Aston Villa’s stature but it seems they are condemned to the drop, despite still having a mathematical chance of escaping the bottom three.
They have lost six consecutive league games coming into this one and have failed to score a goal in their last three. Things don’t look set to improve anytime soon.
Chelsea are the in-form team in the top flight and have flourished under temporary boss Guus Hiddink, as they are unbeaten in their last 14 matches in the Premier league.
The Premier League is the sole competition the Blues are now involved in. The top four is not completely out of sight as they sit ten points off Manchester City in fourth with eight game to play.
Since the sacking of Jose Mourinho, Chelsea have crept up the table and another string of positive results could see them challenge for the top four in the final few weeks.
The reverse fixture ended 2-0 to Chelsea back in October, while the Blues also won last year’s clash at Villa Park by a 2-1 scoreline.
Aston Villa are definitely without Libor Kozak (ankle) and Jordan Amavi (knee). Micah Richards (groin), Jack Grealish (ankle) and Adama Traore (foot) are all doubts.
Chelsea are without Eden Hazard (hip) and Kurt Zouma (knee) for the match. Diego Costa is suspended and won’t feature, while Kenedy is a doubt following a head injury picked up against West Ham last time out.
Aston Villa’s last five: L/L/L/L/L
Chelsea’s last five: W/W/W/D/D
Key Stat: Chelsea have won seven of the last eight meeting with Villa in the Premier League.
Key Player: Willian – The Brazilian playmaker has been the best player by a stretch in this current Chelsea team and his form has yet to drop this season. We’re expecting a Chelsea onslaught and Willian will likely be influential.
Aston Villa 0-3 Chelsea – In many cases, a caretaker manager can inspire a result in his first game in charge, but this Aston Villa team is far from the required standard. We expect Chelsea to take an easy three points back to London on Saturday. The Villains are doomed and their survival hopes look to be dead and buried.