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Aston Villa vs Chelsea Preview

Aston Villa vs Chelsea

This game has the makings of being an absolute cracker! The so-called lesser side will come into the fixture with an incredible amount of confidence whilst the European Champions might be a little insecure now.

I can’t wait for this game; we’re all hoping the players put on a show of course…but more than that, the managerial chess match is just as intriguing. Steven Gerrard will want his side to leave nothing on that Villa Park pitch, but it’s Thomas Tuchel (funny enough) who might need to go on the defensive and target moments to hurt the home side!

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English Premier League
Sunday 26 December
Villa Park
19:30

To Win
Aston Villa 46/10
Draw 29/10
Chelsea 6/10

Aston Villa

Aston Villa under Steven Gerrard have been excellent. They are playing like a football side with a clear identity, one that includes watertight defensive solidity and a brave attacking substance.

You might argue the lingering presence of the honeymoon period at Villa, but the way Aston Villa have played is almost a clear replication of the sort of player Steven Gerrard was. There is a passion, fearless and gritty undertone associated with the Lions.

COVID-19 has once again wreaked havoc on the league, and unfortunately, we haven’t been able to enjoy a full complement of fixtures in quite some time. Villa have been duly affected, they will assumedly still be without many first-choice players and come into the game with frustrating disruptions to their preparation.

Villa will be eyeing a top ten finish, something I think they will be more than capable of achieving given the performances they are consistently registering. This game would usually be seen as a tough, but relatively straightforward fixture for Chelsea…and again its only credit to the work Gerard has done at Villa Park.

At the end of the day, Villa come into this game with a better feel about their camp. They are in a good space and will enjoy a degree of confidence about their play. Chelsea have somewhat dropped off the pace, they were my pick for the league this year, but at a time when the sheep and goats are separated – they are merely flattering to deceive.

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Chelsea

I’m a little worried by Chelsea’s performance. Yes, Thomas Tuchel can question the league’s decision to have them go ahead with the fixture. He can question whether it is right and just that the league continues as normal amidst the latest disturbances…but at the end of the day it’s their performances of late that are so questionable.

Liverpool and City know exactly how they play, and they will play that way come hell or high water. Now I’m not questioning the style employed at Chelsea – like any of you, I’m a huge fan – but the ease with which it disappears when circumstances become difficult is worrying.

The Blues have won just once from their last five games in all competition. In the Premier League, they have only managed to pick up two points from the six on offer and suddenly that title race is starting to slip from their grasp. Now before you start scoffing at your paper or computer screen, I’m not suggesting they are no longer title challengers. What I am saying is that in this league with teams like Manchester City around – if you stumble…you’re out!

If you’re Chelsea, you don’t want this game right now. Villa will have a go and almost see themselves as the favourites to come away with a positive result. Villa Park will be alive and willing their side on. If they get into Chelsea’s face and make the game uncomfortable the onus switches immediately over to Chelsea.

There’s no doubt Chelsea have the players – well I’m assuming (all things considered) – and they have the manager and the experience to turn this run around. Tuchel doesn’t need to be managing in the league for too long to realize the importance of the Christmas and New Year period. If there was a time to galvanize a team and squeeze out a response it will be on Boxing Day.

Liverpool play Leeds and given the current climate at Elland Road, Liverpool will win relatively easy. City play a Leicester side who are not what they once were, but again have the players to turn up. Chelsea must win this game to stay within touching distance of those two, simple as that.

Ignore the managerial manipulation of the press conferences, we’ve heard it all before as well. The “we only worry about ourselves and our performances” line will inevitably rear its old and shaggy head…but the reality is this: the more of a gap that forms between you and the leaders, the more pressure inevitably applies going forward.

Prediction: Aston Villa/Draw @ 12/10

This prediction is made almost entirely from the magical combination of football understanding with enough punter. Taking everything I’ve outlined into account, there is absolutely no feasible reason to back Chelsea at 11/20. They haven’t generated a performance which evokes any sort of confidence nor worthy of your hard-earned money.

Aston Villa on the win/draw double chance is the bet, and for an extra Christmas nugget I wouldn’t try and dissuade you from having a little flutter with Villa on the straight win as well for some extra credit going into the New Year!

Written by Ryan Liberty