Chelsea v Aston Villa Preview: Blues aim to bounce back
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Chelsea remain six points in front of Tottenham Hotspur in the race for Champions League football as Frank Lampard targets an eighth home win of the campaign.

After losing to rivals West Ham at the weekend, Villa picked up a point at Old Trafford in a 2-2 draw. Having lead for much of the first half, Villa sit second in the first half table this year, but in stark contrast, Villa's second half showings have been poor this term.

 

Chelsea have never beaten Villa five times in a row at Stamford Bridge, but have won all but one of their last 55 home games against newly promoted sides.

Losing their last nine in the capital, Villa and Dean Smith will look to get one over on former striker Tammy Abraham. Having scored 27 goals for Villa in a Championship campaign that ended in Play-Off promotion, Abraham will receive a warm reception from tonights travelling fans.

Also facing off in similar fashion, John Terry will return to the Bridge for the first time since 2017. His boyhood club confirmed that their former captain will receive a celebratory welcome as they mark his return to the Bridge.

 

Villa are unbeaten after brining back the then injured Jack Grealish, who missed a month of action due to a calf problem. Grealish has more goal involvements than any other English midfielder.

Lampard will go up against Smith for a fourth time in his young career, with an aggregate score of 9-1 working in Smith's favour.

Team news

Chelsea may rush back Abraham to face his former club as he missed the defeat to West Ham after injuring his hip in Valencia last week.

Antonio Rudiger and Ross Barkley are both nearing fitness but are likely to miss tonight's game.

For Villa, Frederic Guilbert will miss out on the trip to Chelsea as he picked up a fifth yellow card in a draw to Old Trafford.

Anwar El Ghazi will also miss the trip due to a knee injury sustained when assisting Grealish's superb strike at Old Trafford last Sunday.

Predicted Chelsea XI: Kepa, Azpilicueta, Tomori, Zouma, Alonso, Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic, Willian, Pulisic, Abraham.

Predicted Aston Villa XI: Heaton, Elmohamady, Mings, Konsa, Targett, Luiz, Hourihane, Grealish, McGinn, Trezeguet, Wesley.

Head-to-head

 

Chelsea have won their last four games against Villa at an aggregate score of 15-1, and have never beaten them five times in a row at home.

The Blues have drawn their last two at home to promoted sides, and have never gone three without winning since August 1991.

What the managers say

 

Ahead of Terry's return to Stamford Bridge, Dean Smith told AVTV"He'll be excited about it. He always said that he would never go back and play against them. I am certainly not going to pick him. 

"He'll be excited and I am sure he will get an unbelievable reception after the playing career he has had at that football club and the ties he has had at that football club. 

"He'll be looking forward to going back. I am pretty sure it'll be a little bit different for him. His mind has been solely focused on helping myself, Richard and Neil Cutler on coach the team ready to try and beat the team and club that he loves. Going back there will be special for him."

Lampard also to Chelsea TV about his relationship with JT: "He's not much different to me, I went up against him twice last year. I have huge respect for the job he and Dean Smith have done. He will get a great reception from the fans. It will be pretty emotional for him and I will look forward to seeing him back.

"We are back focused on his jobs, I spoke to him last week."

Lampard also recited the importance of bouncing back in the Premier League after losing last time out.

"I think it is part of football. If anyone thought it was to be a breeze. Man City away is a tough match. We have to focus on our reaction. There were basics we did’t do. We lost a little bit of that and it is important we prepare for Villa."

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