Chelsea vs Aston Villa preview: How to watch, kick off time, team news, predicted lineups and ones to watch
(Photo by Chris Lee - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

On Wednesday night Chelsea will play host to Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge in the Carabao Cup with a place in the Fourth Round of the competition at stake.

The two sides met very recently indeed, with the Blues running out 3-0 winners in the league fixture played just 11 days before this next encounter.

Thomas Tuchel's side have had an excellent start to the season, sitting joint top of the Premier League table alongside Liverpool, the only side to have scored against them so far.

Even that was via a penalty, and with the attacking output also looking strong - they've scored 13 goals in just six games - it will be a tough test for Villa.

Speaking of Dean Smith's side, they've had a slightly more mixed opening to the campaign, currently sitting in 10th place with two wins, two losses and a draw to their name.

They showed their promise in their last outing with an impressive 3-0 win against Everton, but their inconsistency shines through in the fact the result prior to that was the same scoreline against them - against Chelsea no less.

Team News

Chelsea

In his pre-match press conference Tuchel said: '[Edouard] Mendy cannot play and he is not training so far. We will do what we can for Saturday [against Manchester City]. We hope he trains on Thursday so he can be back for Saturday.’

Although Edouard Mendy won't be available for this game, it's relatively unlikely the Frenchman would've played anyway with it being a cup game, so he shouldn't be too much of a worry.

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Christian Pulisic will also be out, although with the remarkable squad depth at the German coach's disposal, it's unlikely his absence will be a huge concern in terms of picking a starting eleven.

Aston Villa

Dean Smith spoke to the media after his side's win against Everton at the weekend, and suggested to the press that there were a few problems within his squad.

In comparison to their opponents, Villa's injury list makes for considerably tougher viewing, with three key players in the form of Matty Cash, Matt Targett and Leon Bailey all set to be on the sidelines.

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Another player out will be John McGinn after he went off with suspected concussion, as well as Trezeguet and Keinan Davis, both out with long-term injuries.

Predicted Lineups

Chelsea (3-4-3):

Kepa; Chalobah, Azpilicueta, Rudiger; James, Saul, Loftus-Cheek, Chilwell; Hudson-Odoi, Werner, Barkley

Aston Villa (5-3-2):

Steer; Guilbert, Konsa, Tuanzebe, Hause, Young; Nakamba, Sanson, Buendia; Watkins, Archer

Form Guide

Chelsea

Just over a month into the competitive season and the Blues could scarcely have envisioned a more idyllic start to this campaign with their results thus far.

Not only has the defence been as rock solid, if not more so, than last year, the attack's potency has also improved with the addition of Romelu Lukaku - even if there were three more unlikely scorers in their previous game against Tottenham Hotspur.

Aston Villa

The visitors to Stamford Bridge haven't had quite as exciting a start but it hasn't been bad by any means either, especially looking at their most recent result.

A 3-0 demolition of Everton showed the best of all parts of their play - although considering two of their three goals came through players who are injured for this game (Cash and Bailey), trying to replicate such a performance will be a very tough task.

Ones to Watch

Trevoh Chalobah

With what is likely to be a heavily rotated starting eleven for the home side, it 's hard to pick out one standout player to keep an eye on, but Trevoh Chalobah could be a good candidate.

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The centre back has enjoyed an excellent first few games, albeit not featuring in all of them, most notably scoring on his Premier League debut against Crystal Palace in August.

At 22 years old the Englishman still has plenty of time to get experience under his belt, but it should be a good test for him, particularly against the likes of Ollie Watkins in the Villa attack.

Emiliano Buendia

After having an extended international break due to quarantine requirements, Argentinian winger Emiliano Buendia looks set to return to the Villa starting lineup on Wednesday night.

The 24-year-old was an unused substitute against Everton and will clearly benefit from getting some minutes in after his longer-than-anticipated hiatus.

Quite how he managed against what is still likely to be an experience Chelsea defence is yet to be seen, but he could be the one to cause problems in the Blues' backline.

Previous Five Meetings

The Blues will hope to continue their fine form against the Villans, avoiding any slip-ups like one that occurred just a few months ago in the league.

Almost two years ago, Chelsea just about saw off a side who had John Terry as an assistant coach at the time, courtesy of goals from youngsters Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham.

In fairness, that was Dean Smith's team's first season back in the top flight, and they were by no means overrun by then-Chelsea boss Frank Lampard's side.

The next meeting between the two came in a much-changed footballing environment, as the Premier League had just returned from a lockdown-enforced break.

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It was another slender victory for the West London side, involving a turnaround from 1-0 down that was sparked by a Christian Pulisic equaliser, before an Olivier Giroud winner.

A tight 1-1 draw in London followed, in which another Giroud goal was cancelled out by an Anwar El Ghazi strike, giving Villa a well-earned point with match still behind closed doors.

In fact, that game was relatively near the end of Lampard's tenure in charge and could even be pointed to as one of the defining reasons why the former coach lost his job.

There were more dropped points for Chelsea a few months later in the very final league game of the season when fans finally returned to football stadiums.

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Their presence undoubtedly contributed to an eventual 2-1 win for Villa, during a dramatic top four race that went right down to the wire, with Tuchel's side successful in the end.

Finally, in the most recent encounter between the two sides, there was a scoreline which, while not necessarily reflective of the game itself, did show the gulf in class between the two sides.

Lukaku ran riot just over a week ago, scoring two in a 3-0 win, and Villa defenders may still be having nightmares over facing the Belgian - though they'll be grateful to hear that he likely wont't feature due to the expected squad rotation.

How To Watch

This Third Round Carabao Cup game won't be being broadcast live in the UK, but regular score updates from all the round's games can be followed on Sky Sports News' 'Gillette Soccer Special' programme.

Otherwise, you can also follow the game right here on VAVEL, where we'll bring you updates from around two hours before kick, right throughout the game.

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