- Over 2.5 goals hit the net with both teams scoring in 71% of Chelsea’s away games this season.
- Aston Villa scored in 12 of their 14 Premier League home games this term.
- Chelsea have the Premier League’s 3rd best away record.
- The Blues beat Villa 2-1 earlier this season at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea aiming to tighten grip on fourth spot
Chelsea spun plenty of headlines for their activity off the pitch this week when they agreed a deal to sign highly-rated striker Timo Werner, though the Blues still have work to do to ensure that they can offer the German and his fellow new summer recruit Hakim Ziyech Champions League football next season.
Ahead of the resumption of their 2019/20 campaign, Chelsea hold fourth spot in the Premier League, but with just a five-point spread between Frank Lampard’s side and Wolves in 7th, much can still change between now and the end of the summer.
Before the suspension of play in March, Chelsea had found form domestically, winning two out of three in the Premier League, and advancing to the quarter finals of the FA Cup at Liverpool’s expense.
However, Chelsea were toyed with by recently crowned German champions Bayern Munich in the Champions League, while their run of four league games on the road without a win after visits to Brighton, Newcastle, Leicester, Bournemouth was a poor return from a favourable sequence of fixtures.
Villa fighting for their lives
Aston Villa needed a helping hand from a technological malfunction to take a point from their catch-up fixture at home to high-flying Sheffield United on Wednesday, though in truth, the hosts were well worth a share of the spoils after a spirited showing.
Dean Smith will however, be concerned about the energy sapping effect that playing successive games inside a short period might have on his players ahead of an equally tough test at home to Chelsea on Sunday.
Their draw with the Blades halted a run of four league defeats on the bounce for Villa, but with time to save themselves running out and the Villains still second from bottom, the need for wins is stark.
Villa have taken 18 of their 26 Premier League points this season on their own patch, and while their home form has shown promise, three of the division’s top four sides have left the Midlands with wins this season – with Chelsea the only member of the division’s current best quartet still to visit.
Goals likely at Villa Park
Remarkably, Villa’s mid-week blank against Sheffield United was only the second time in 14 Premier League home games where they failed to make their mark on the scoresheet, and having plundered goals in tough matches against Liverpool, Leicester, Man, City and Spurs earlier this season, we expect them to notch against Chelsea.
The Blues have consistently run into trouble in their own third as the visiting team this season, conceding at least once in 13 of their 14 away assignments overall since August, shipping an average of 1.7 goals per 90 minutes along the way.
Even so, Chelsea’s considerable attacking threat at the other end has allowed them to compensate for their lack of solidity in defence, and ahead of their latest test at Villa, Lampard’s men hold the Premier League’s 3rd strongest away record.
That mix of factors has resulted in plenty of thrilling contests in Chelsea’s campaign on the road in 2019/20, with a sizeable average of 3.78 goals scored per away game overall since the season kicked off 10 months ago.
In fact, over 2.5 goals hit the net and both teams scored in 72% of their 14 away games in total this term – and that combination market looks excellent value again for Sunday’s game.
Our correct score prediction tips the Blues to eventually emerge as 2-1 victors however. With Chelsea’s ability to pick up points on the road well established, and Villa’s poor showing against the division’s better teams telling, the Blues should be able to capitalise on the mid-week fatigue their hosts carry to pick up maximum points.
Chelsea scored exactly two goals in four of their last six away matches and can notch two more on Sunday in a 2-1 win – a scoreline that mirrors the one secured by the Blues against Aston Villa in last year’s reverse fixture.
Key Battle – Jack Grealish vs N’Golo Kante
With first choice anchorman Jorginho absent through suspension, French destroyer N’Golo Kante should start as the deepest lying Chelsea midfielder at Villa Park.
The French World Cup winner, known for his boundless energy and expert ability to break up play, will likely patrol the same spaces occupied by Villa talisman Jack Grealish.
The 24-year-old schemer looks set to leave his hometown club this summer, though Grealish will be determined to leave on a high note. As Villa’s most potent attacking threat, the attacking midfielder will hope to provide the spark for an upset on Sunday.
Aston Villa vs Chelsea team news
Pepe Reina could return between the sticks after Orjan Nyland’s mid-week mistake, while Ally Samatta could come in to replace Keinan Davis up top.
Elsewhere, Ezri Konsa, who was suffering from cramp in the second half against Sheffield United should be fit to play, though Bjorn Engels will miss out with a knee injury.
Aston Villa predicted line-up: Reina, Mohamady, Hause, Mings, Target, McGinn, Nakamba, Luiz, Grealish, Samatta, Trezeguet
Jorginho carries over a suspension from March and won’t feature on Sunday, while doubts remain over the fitness of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James.
N’Golo Kane, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Christian Pulisic, Mateo Kovacic and ex-Villa loanee Tammy Abrhama make a welcome return to fold however.
Chelsea predicted line-up: Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Zouma, Rudiger, Alonso, Kante, Kovacic, Mount, Willian, Pulisic, Abraham