Chelsea v Aston Villa Cheat Sheet
Chelsea v Aston Villa
Saturday afternoon sees Aston Villa travel to London to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge following the international break with both teams on 38 points in 10th and 11th. The home side had a small resurgence in form just before the break, beating Leeds, Dortmund and Leicester and conceding just one goal in that time but a last-minute Ellis Simms goal saw Chelsea drop points against Everton. The visitors were also in good form heading into the break. Their last four were against teams in 19th, 18th, 12th and 15th and they picked up 10 points from those four games. League leaders Arsenal and Manchester City were the only other sides not to lose in that time.
Chelsea started the season with Thomas Tuchel as their manager, who won them the Champions League just two seasons ago. However, a poor start and ultimately a 1-0 defeat at Dinamo Zagreb got the blues boss fired, much to the shock of many and disappointment of plenty of Chelsea fans. He was replaced by Graham Potter who started very impressively, with six wins and three draws in his first nine whilst only conceding four in that time. However, Chelsea fans were brought straight back down to earth by a 4-1 humbling at Potter’s old club, Brighton, which started a run of four straight domestic losses before the World Cup break. They were also on a run of just two wins in 15 games heading into March before their upturn in form and whilst they weren’t spectacular, they were winning games and picking up points and have made it through to the quarterfinals of the Champions League. Graham Potter will be hoping his side can bounce back following the disappointment of conceding a late equaliser against Everton last time out, but he will be buoyed with more confidence knowing his side have won just one of their last six at Stamford Bridge (three wins, four clean sheets). However, they have plenty of absentees and doubts for this one. Armando Brojo and Thiago Silva are both definitely out here but Kai Havertz, Reece James, Mason Mount, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Raheem Sterling, Edouard Mendy, Wesley Fofana and Cesar Azpilicueta may all miss out too.
The visitors for this one, Aston Villa have also changed their manager over the course of the season. Steven Gerrard, who won just two of his 12 league games in charge this season in all competitions, was replaced by Unai Emery at the end of October and their results have since improved. When the Spaniard took over, Villa were only out of the relegation zone on goals scored, but he has done an excellent job since. He has guided the midlands side to safety, and they sit in 11th. A win here would see them leapfrog their opponents. Just six teams have picked up more points than the visitors’ 26 across the last 15, winning eight. Jed Steer and Philippe were already in the treatment room but right-back Matty Cash picked up a calf injury with Poland over the International break and will also miss out here. Striker Ollie Watkins could become the first player in Aston Villa history to score in five successive Premier League away games but is yet to score in his five appearances against the Blues.
Joao Felix has been a bright spark for Chelsea fans in what has been a very poor season for the club in comparison to their normal standards. Despite being sent off after 57 minutes on his debut at Fulham, the Portuguese star impressed and managed six shots with four on target.
Following his suspension he has played eight games for the club, and has had at least two shots in every one of those games, with three in six of them. In the other games he played just 67 (Leeds) and 45 (Leicester) minutes and should be given more time here. That means that in total he has played 672 minutes for his new club, amassing 30 shots at a rate of 4.02 shots per 90 in all competitions. An alternative angle is a shot on target at 1/4 (1.25) which has landed in six of the eight and he averages 1.74 shots on target per 90 for the London club.
Kalidou Koulibaly moved to Chelsea in the summer and there were big hopes about how good he could be given that he has been rumoured to move to the Premier League for many seasons. However, he has not been as impressive as some had hoped. He has committed 36 fouls in 34 appearances for club and country this season at a rate of over one per game.
In the reverse fixture at Villa Park, the Senegalese centre-back was booked for his only foul having come off the bench at half time. He has played at least 45 minutes in 18 Premier League matches this season, committing 22 fouls in that time, including at least one in 15 of the 18, being booked seven times – including two bookings against Leeds in August, getting sent off.
Chelsea home games have averaged 11 corners per game this season, seeing at least ten corners in 77% of them. They have averaged 6.31 corners per match in their home games, conceding 4.69. In their last five matches at Stamford Bridge, there have been 58 corners, with at least ten in four of them. They have averaged 7.60 corners per game during that period, having at least five in all of them, at least six in all but one and at least eight in three of the five.
Aston Villa games have seen an average of 9.70 corners per game this season, falling slightly to 9.46 away from home. However, over half (54%) of their games on the road have seen at least ten corners and they have conceded an average of almost six per game (5.92). Given Chelsea’s high corner count, and Aston Villa’s high corner conceded count away from the Midlands, this line seems generous. A safer option could be Chelsea with most corners (2/9 or 1.22) or Chelsea over 4.5 corners (2/7 or 1.29).
These teams rank among the highest card totals in the Premier League so far this season. Chelsea games have seen an average of 4.11 cards, rising to 4.38 at Stamford Bridge. They have received an average of 2.31 cards here and drawn almost as many (2.08). This selection has landed in 62% of their games, and over 4.5 has landed in 54%. There have been four or more cards in four of the last five matches at the Blues’ home.
Aston Villa average even more cards away from home (4.46). They have received 2.38 cards per game, drawing 2.08. In 69% of their away matches, they have seen two or more cards and they have been given at least three in 46%.
The referee for this one is Andy Madley. He has taken charge of 18 Premier League games this season, showing 67 cards at an average of 3.73 per game. His last eight games have seen 40 cards (including one red) at an average of five cards per match. He was in charge of Chelsea’s 2-1 victory over West Ham here at the start of the season, where he booked four Chelsea players and two Hammers.
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