Hefty investment is once again not reaping rewards at Stamford Bridge as Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea find themselves in the bottom half of the Premier League.
After conceding four goals in both of their last two matches against Liverpool and Wolves, they will be looking for some respite in Wednesday’s FA Cup replay at Aston Villa, but that could be in short supply.
Villa’s long unbeaten home league record was ended by Newcastle last week, but they got back on track on Saturday with a 5-0 win over Sheffield United and Unai Emery’s side will fancy their chances against a team who have lost six of their last seven away games.
The game will be played at Villa Park with a kick-off time of 20:00 GMT on Wednesday 7th February 2024.
Bet Builder - 8/1
Villa cruised to a 5-0 win over Sheffield United and while there was disappointment that they suffered their first league defeat at Villa Park for almost a year against Newcastle, they do look to be back in the swing of things and should get the better of Chelsea.
They were beaten at home by Everton in the League Cup, but they appear to be facing Chelsea at just the right time, even though the first meeting between these teams ended in a goalless draw.
Pochettino’s boys appear to be all at sea. They had high hopes of recovering from a 4-1 defeat at Liverpool when they entertained Wolves on Sunday as they have won their previous four home matches.
However, that form counted for nothing as they fell to a 4-2 loss, and their recent away record provides little solace as the only away game they didn’t lose in their last seven was a 3-2 win at Luton in which they were hanging on at the end.
They were also beaten at Championship Middlesbrough in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final and, against one of the crispest attacks in the country, things could be about to get worse.
It was a surprise that the first meeting finished goalless, but backing over 2.5 goals at Villa Park looks a sensible option for the second element of a Bet Builder.
Chelsea have conceded at least twice in each of their last six Premier League away games, and seven of their last nine on the road have featured at least three goals.
This match should be more open than the first meeting as Villa tend to employ a more expansive style when playing in front of their own fans.
Just four of their 16 home games this season have failed to generate at least three goals and there is plenty of scope for this clash to follow suit.
Ollie Watkins remains Villa’s chief goal threat and he can be expected to find the target again.
The 3-1 defeat he and his team-mates suffered against Newcastle was a disappointment but it was a night when the England striker ended a run of six games without a goal.
He backed that up by netting in the 5-0 win at Bramall Lane and his confidence looks to have returned.
New signing Morgan Rogers is cup-tied while Pau Torres, Lucas Digne and Nicolo Zaniolo are also expected to miss out. Emi Buendia, Tyrone Mings and Jhon Duran are sidelined long term.
Striker Nicolas Jackson is back from the Africa Cup of Nations but this game could come too early for Levi Colwill and Trevoh Chalobah.
Romeo Lavia, Marc Cucurella, Reece James, Robert Sanchez, Wesley Fofana and Lesley Ogochukwu are all out.
Aston Villa have scored first in five of their last seven home matches.
Chelsea have lost six of their last seven away games.
Five of Chelsea’s last eight games have featured at least four goals.
Chelsea have lost and both teams have scored in four of their last seven aways.
|Aston Villa wins
This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.