Chelsea travel to Villa Park this weekend to face Paul Lambert’s Aston Villa as the title race heats up. Chelsea have opened up a seven point lead on the top of the table, but with Manchester City having three games in hand and fixtures coming thick & fast, the fate of the Premier League title is yet to be decided.
Each & every point counts at this stage and Chelsea are bound to jump for all three. The corresponding fixture last season is remembered for Frank Lampard’s brace, which took the Blues midfielder past Bobby Tambling’s record and helped him become the highest goal-scorer in the Chelsea history.
DATE & TIME: March 15, 2014 at 12:30 EST; March 15, 2014 at 17:30 GMT; March 15, 2014 at 18:30 WAT; March 15, 2014 at 19:30 CAT; March 15, 2014 at 20:30 EAT; March 15, 2014 at 23:00 IST.
VENUE: Villa Park, Birmingham, England.
TV/STREAMING NEWS: The match will be telecast live on Fox Sports 3 in Australia, Supersport 3 Africa in the African continent, Sportsnet East/West/Pacific/Ontario in Canada, beIN Sports Arabia 1/11 HD in Egypt, Canal+ Sport in France, Star Sports 4 & Star Sports HD2 in India, Fox Sports Plus HD in Italy, J Sports 4 in Japan, Astro Supersport in Malaysia, Fox Sports 2 in Netherlands, Canal+ Fútbol HD & Gol Stadium in Spain, beIN Sports Arabia 1/11 HD in UAE, Sky Sports 1/HD in UK and NBCSN in USA.
Chelsea TV will have live audio of the game.
The match is available on NBC Sports Live Extra in USA.
You can also catch the game on TalkSport Radio if you’re in Australia, Canada, Malaysia, UK or USA.
ASTON VILLA FC SQUAD NEWS: Villa will miss Libor Kozák, Jores Okore and Charles N’Zogbia owing to injuries. Ryan Bertrand is ineligible to play against his parent club.
Predicted Starting XI: Guzan, Bacuna, Vlaar, Baker, Bennett, Ahmadi, Westwood, Delph, Weimann, Benteke, Agbonlahor.
CHELSEA FC SQUAD NEWS: Marco van Ginkel has shaken off his cruciate ligament injury but still has not recovered match fitness. Fernando Torres is expected to return next week from the groin injury he picked up before facing Tottenham. David Luiz is doubtful as well.
Predicted Starting XI: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Matic, Ramires, Willian, Oscar, Hazard, Eto’o.
REFEREE: Chris Foy.
THOUGHTS FROM THE ENEMY: Paul Lambert believes his forwards have enough ammunition to thwart Chelsea’s run. He is also aware of Chelsea’s threat in front of the goal and the enigma that Terry-Cahill partnership has proved to be this season. Here is what he said in a pre-match interview to AVTV.
“The three lads have been an absolute credit to us in the time I’ve been here for their effort and they way they play. When they are on song then the three of them are an absolute handful. They have got everything that you love in footballers – the pace, power, speed, work-rate. That’s what you look for in players.
If you look at any of their front lads, they can create. Their midfield lads get a bundle of goals as well. They have got some really top players. I don’t think it is just the front three. It is the team as a collective unit that is really strong. John Terry coming back and playing the way he has gave them a big boost and Gary Cahill has been very consistent all season too.”
FORM INDEX: Aston Villa – WLLDLW; Chelsea – WWDWWW.
- Chelsea’s next win will be their 400th in the Roman Abramovich era.
- Aston Villa have not won successive Premier League home games since August 2010.
- Chelsea have won their last 4 matches against Aston Villa in all competitions.
- Chelsea have the tightest defence in the Barclays Premier League, conceding only 22 goals in 29 games including 13 clean sheets.
Chelsea have been undefeated in the last six games on road and will look forward to extend that run & grab full three points in order to further boost the title hopes. Aston Villa, who sit at 11th in the Premier League, boast of a decent squad and the Blues must be at their efficient best in front of the goal to garner a positive result