Mar 13, 2014, 2:29 PM EDT
- Aston Villa have not won back to back Barclays Premier League home matches since August 2011.
- Chelsea are unbeaten in their last six Premier League away games, keeping four clean sheets and conceding just two goals (W4 D2).
- Aston Villa have won just one of the last eight Premier League matches against Chelsea, losing the last four in a row.
Chelsea look to look to hold their Premier League edge on fellow title-chasers Manchester City and Arsenal on Saturday when the Blues take on Aston Villa in Birmingham (watch live on NBCSN at 1:30pm ET or online via NBC Sports Live Extra).
Chelsea are unbeaten in the league since the 3-2 shock defeat at Stoke City back on December 7th. Since then Jose Mourinho’s squad have gone 14 straight matches without a loss, drawing only three times (to Arsenal, West Ham and West Brom) during the span.
Their most recent conquest was an impressive one, knocking off Spurs 4-0 at Stamford Bridge. Yet beneath the lopsided scoreline was the troubling fact that all four goals came as a result of either 1) major mistakes in Spurs’ defense or 2) questionable referee calls.
I’m not suggesting that, like Mourinho said, Chelsea has no strikers.
I’m just saying that if I’m Paul Lambert, I’m telling my squad that Chelsea’s attack can be stifled. Decent motivation for a team that’s only won one of their last eight league matches against the Blues.
On current form, the Villains have upheld their season-long reputation as being the most inconsistent and under-performing club in the Premier League. On January 29th they came from 2-0 down to beat rivals West Brom 4-3 in the West Midlands derby. Huge win.
So how’d they follow that up?
By going winless over the next four matches: 2-1 loss at Everton, 0-2 loss to West Ham, a 0-0 draw with Cardiff and a 1-0 loss to Newcastle.
Two points. For Aston Villa that’s just not good enough. If I were a Villa fan — and, praise be to the God’s of Football, I’m not — that’s exactly how I’d feel. Like my team simply wasn’t competing at the level they should be. Underperforming.
But then what do Villa go and do next?
Smoke Norwich City 4-1. Again, they come from behind. And again, Christian Benteke was scoring goals. Great to see him starting to look more like the striker who tore the Premier League a new one last year when he netted 19 times in 34 appearances.
Point being – Villa is inconsistent as all hell. Although things do seem to be improving…
So can they beat Chelsea?
What They’re Saying:
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho: “We know that to win matches you need to score more goals than the opponent, but one of the ways you have to score more is if you don’t concede.”
Aston Villa winger Andi Weimann: “They are top of the league now so obviously everyone is looking to catch them and we hope we will be able to take points off them. I think attacking-wise if we are on our game we can hurt anyone and we’ll look to do that against Chelsea.”
On a good day, I think Villa can nip a point here. Benteke is back, they have no new injuries (N’Zogbia, Kozak and Okore all term absentees) and they seem to be coming into form.
Problem is, if Chelsea wants a shot at the title the Blues need to win every single one of their final nine matches. So even with Fernando Torres (groin), Ashley Cole (knee) and possibly David Luiz (groin, late fitness test) sidelines with injury, Villa don’t stand a prayer in this one.
Chelsea takes all three points. Mourinho says something awesome. Done deal.
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