Aston Villa and Chelsea will go head-to-head at Villa Park in the ultimate round of the 2020/21 Premier League season on Sunday afternoon.
While Villa fans may be forgiven for looking ahead at the summer Euros and checking out EM 2021 odds for England (and Grealish), the visitors desperately need a victory to secure a top-four finish, thus expect the Blues’ fans to be up for this one.
The sides played out a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge in the reverse fixture back in late December. Olivier Giroud opened the scoring in the 34th minute before Anwar El-Ghazi put things back to square one five minutes into the second half.
Although the Lions did manage to bring a six-match losing Premier League streak against Chelsea to a halt, they are still waiting for their first league win over this opposition since 1-0 home success in March 2014.
Aston Villa Preview
Villa performed a stunning first-half comeback to defeat Tottenham 2-1 in London last time out, putting an end to their three-match winless run in the Premier League (D1, L2).
Since beating relegated Fulham 3-1 on Matchday 30, Dean Smith’s men have alternated a draw and a defeat across their subsequent four home league games (D2, L2), conceding at least twice three times in the process.
Additionally, the Lions have lost all of their last three Premier League meetings with Chelsea at Villa Park by an aggregate score of 8-2, conceding precisely two second-half goals on two occasions.
On the bright side, the Villans have never lost to Chelsea in the season finale (W3, D1), winning their most recent encounter 3-1 at Stamford Bridge in the 2001/02 season.
Villa have notably improved their performance compared to the last season as they have won 15 Premier League games this term compared to just nine victories back in 2019/20.
Chelsea claimed a tight 2-1 home triumph against Leicester City last time out to remain inside the top four, but they need all three points here to claim a place in next season’s Champions League group stage.
The Londoners have yet to lose an away Premier League match under Thomas Tuchel, winning six and drawing two so far. Moreover, they have conceded just four away league goals under the German and never more than once per game.
However, the away goals have been in short supply for Chelsea under Tuchel. They have netted precisely once in seven of their 13 road trips in all competitions under the current manager.
After winning each of their last three Premier League visits to Villa Park, the Blues could post four top-flight victories in a row at this venue for the first time in the 21st century.
Except for a 2-1 loss to Newcastle United in 2017/18, Chelsea have not lost their final league match in eight of the last nine Premier League campaigns (W6, D2).
Aston Villa vs Chelsea Players To Watch
Aston Villa: Ollie Watkins
The 25-year-old striker has been in stellar form for Villa this season, netting 14 Premier League goals so far. He bagged the winner against Tottenham on Wednesday, which means he has either scored or assisted in each of his last three league games against London sides.
Chelsea: Timo Werner
The German forward has netted just twice in the Premier League since the calendar flipped to 2021 and has drawn a blank in his last three league appearances. Now would be the right time to break his goal duck and prove the doubters wrong.
Aston Villa vs Chelsea Predicted Line-ups
Aston Villa (4-2-3-1): Emiliano Martinez; Matt Targett, Tyrone Mings, Kortney Hause, Ezri Konsa; John McGinn, Douglas Luiz; Anwar El-Ghazi, Jack Grealish, Bertrand Traore; Ollie Watkins.
Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Edouard Mendy; Antonio Rudiger, Thiago Silva, Reece James; Ben Chilwell, N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Cesar Azpilicueta; Mason Mount, Christian Pulsiic; Timo Werner.