Aston Villa enter the latest phase of their relegation dogfight at Villa Park with a difficult contest against Chelsea.
The last time these two met, Villa put in a spirited but ultimately futile performance in a 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge. However, Villa have only one twice since then and have fell deeper into relegation trouble. Their situation is looking more desperate following Brighton’s shock victory over Arsenal. Frank Lampard’s Blues are still mounting a Champions League push and will be determined to avoid the same embarrassment their London rivals have this weekend.
Keeping in shape
There are no new injury concerns for Aston Villa. Mbwana Samatta took a knock in Villa’s match against Sheffield United but seems to have recovered. Jed Steer continues to build his fitness following an Achilles injury in November while John McGinn is still likely not fully fit. A slight boost is the return of Frederic Guilbert to training this week, dispelling the rumours of him being asthmatic. However, the Frenchman has only returned in the last few days and will likely play no part. Furthermore, Bjorn Engels remains out of action with what is believed to be an Achilles injury.
As for the Blues, Frank Lampard confirmed that Fikayo Tomori will miss the match through injury. There has been no word on the severity of the injury and whether or not the defender will miss any matches after Sunday. Furthermore, there are rumours that Callum Hudson-Odoi will miss the match after picking up a knock in training. This still leaves the Blues with almost a full-strength side, with Tammy Abraham looking to come back to haunt his old side.
Villa do have one edge their high-flying visitors and that was their 0-0 draw with Sheffield United on Wednesday. As this is essentially the start of a new season, fitness and match sharpness matters above all else. With Villa already getting into the competitive groove and putting in a respectable performance, that could prove to be vital in this contest.