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Chelsea haven’t been shy about their transfer intentions this summer, with Hakim Ziyech likely being followed into the club by Timo Werner before the window has even opened.
They’ll have to settle for their current crop of players for the remainder of this season though and have a real task on their hands to hang on to fourth spot with United hot on their heels.
Villa would have welcomed the break to iron out some issues after a four-match losing streak, and a goalless draw in their first game back hosting European hopefuls Sheffield United is no mean feat, even if it did come courtesy of a technical malfunction in the goal-line technology.
The Blues were looking like they might be coming into some form before the break, beating both Merseyside clubs by an aggregate 6-0 in their last two games across all competitions, though inconsistency has been the thorn in their side this season and we wouldn’t read too much into that considering how long ago it was.
Big Names Back From Injury
What is in the visitor’s favour now, however, is the return of some of their key players to full fitness. N’golo Kante, Tammy Abraham and Ruben Loftus Cheek are among the biggest names returning to leave manager Frank Lampard with a selection headache.
While Villa have been far more stable at home than on the road, coming up against the bigger sides has often proved a step too far for the relegation strugglers.
Their midweek point against Sheffield United is the only point they’ve managed from the current top nine in the table at Villa Park, though admittedly it’s the only such game they’ve failed to score in.
They netted in defeat to all of Spurs, Man City, Leicester, and Liverpool, and we wouldn’t put it past them to grab another.
Chelsea To Win And Both Teams To Score
While Chelsea haven’t won back to back league games since beating Palace back in early November, and are winless against the bottom six since their 2-1 victory in the reverse of this fixture, the break effectively negates this qualifying as ‘off the back’ of their drubbing of Everton, while the return of key players will be a massive boost for them.
Goals have been on the cards all season for the London outfit, and they’ve scored at least twice in five of their last six matches so we can see this one fitting a similar storyline.
While only the top three in the table have bagged more than Lampard’s charges this campaign, they also have the worst defensive record in the top seven and just one clean sheet from 14 trips, so the win and both teams to score looks a good fit at the prices.
Chelsea To Win And Both Teams to Score At 15/8