The Blues have slumped from the high of winning the Premier League in May to sixteenth in the table after eight games in 2015-16. It is no surprise that this game is being billed as the turning point for Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho. Misfiring personnel and odd tactics have dominated the headlines about the London club and the visit of the Villans, always generous to others in times of need, will be a welcome one.
Both sides have endured disappointing starts to the season and both managers will be looking for an uplift in fortunes this afternoon as the Villans head to the home of the Barclays Premier League champions.
Jose Mourinho, still reeling from Eva-gate and being fined by the FA for comments made about referee Robert Madley, will be hoping to tackle the tailspin his team finds itself in, safe in the knowledge that the visitors have not kept a clean sheet at Stamford Bridge since March 1998.
Looking for positives, Sherwood’s side has scored in the last nine away fixtures and the hosts have conceded at least two goals in seven of their eight Premier League games this season. Whatever happens this afternoon, the Villans will remain in the bottom three.
It is fair to say that the Villans have not had the toughest start to the season and now, with sterner tests ahead, Tim Sherwood is a man under pressure, needing time he does not have to steer his charges out of the choppy waters they find themselves in.
Chelsea: L D W L L
Aston Villa: L L L L D
Defenders Ciaran Clark (hip) and Jores Okore (knee) will miss this match through injury.
Adama Traoré (ankle) and Gabby Agbonlahor (calf) face late fitness tests.
Hutton Richards Lescott Amavi
Gil Grealish Sinclair
As the 2015-16 season got under way, Jose Mourinho was a happy man, having signed a new four-year deal with Chelsea Football Club and feeling confident that he could see his club become the first to win back-to-back Premier League titles since Manchester United managed to do that in the 2008-09 season.
Two months later, with his team languishing close to the relegation zone, Mourinho has found himself making headlines for all the wrong reasons and has even had to thank Roman Abramovich for his vote of confidence, often viewed as a kiss of death.
This afternoon, Mourinho will be without out-of-form defender Branislav Ivanovic, who picked up a hamstring injury while on international duty with Serbia.
Diego Costa is expected to return to the starting line-up after serving his suspension.
Referee: Roger East
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Tickets: The away allocation has sold out
Last meeting: 7th February 2015 – Aston Villa 1 – Chelsea 2
2-0 – Mark Lawrenson
2-0 – Paul Merson
2-1 – AnneMc