On October 17th, Tim Sherwood’s Aston Villa travel to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea. Chelsea’s struggles this season have been well documented and they are only above 17th place on goals scored after eight games, which is their worst start to a season in the history of the Premier League. For all the documented struggles of Jose Mourinho and Chelsea, Tim Sherwood is arguably under more pressure. His Villa side are sitting in the bottom three with a mere four points from their first eight games. After saving Villa from the relegation zone last season, Sherwood has led them right back into the bottom three with four consecutive league losses. Both managers are desperate for three points to turn around their awful starts.
Chelsea are relatively injury free as they look to turn their season around. Horribly out of form Branislav Ivanovic is out for two weeks, but that could be a blessing in disguise for Jose Mourinho. Thibaut Courtois will also be missing out as he continues to recover from his serious knee injury.
Villa have some injuries to deal with as they look to climb out of the relegation zone. They will be without Gary Gardner, Jores Okore, and Ciaran Clark through injury. Gabby Agbonlahor and former Barcelona player Adama Traore are both slight doubts to face Chelsea, but should be back next week if they miss out.
- Villa have only won one in their last seven against Chelsea, being outscored 21-6 in that stretch.
- After Villa were beat 8-0 by Chelsea in December 2012, four of the last five matches between these two have been decided by one goal.
- Chelsea have the second worst defensive record in the league this season after having the best defensive record in the league last season.
- Villa have scored 75% of their goals this season away from home.
Chelsea: Asmir Begovic
Chelsea’s defence has been pretty awful so far this season. They’ve conceded 17 goals, and it could be even worse had it not been for the performances of Asmir Begovic. The Bosnian goalkeeper has been a fantastic performer this season after stepping in for the injured Thibaut Courtois. The former Stoke City keeper has been forced into more than three saves a game this season, and his saves are a big reason that Chelsea aren’t in an even worse position than they are.
Aston Villa: Rudy Gestede
Villa haven’t had many bright spots this season, but one of them has been Rudy Gestede. He may not be the most technically gifted player, but he is an absolute monster in the air. He has scored three goals in only four starts. He will be looking to take advantage of Chelsea’s shaky defense, especially on set pieces as they will be without the extra height of Ivanovic. Villa have struggled for goals so far this season, but Gestede has been one of the few bright spots offensively.
As bad as Chelsea have been this year, Villa have been worse. Despite Jose Mourinho’s side struggling defensively this year they should be able to get the three points here. The Blues will likely get a convincing win in this one and push Villa farther down the table.
Prediction: 3-1 Chelsea