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May 23, 2021 at 4pm UK
Aston VillaAston Villa
Traore (43'), El Ghazi (52' pen.)
McGinn (65'), Nakamba (74'), Martinez (81')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Chilwell (70')
Jorginho (45'), Werner (45+2'), Kovacic (49'), Arrizabalaga (90+5')
Azpilicueta (89')

Preview: Aston Villa vs. Chelsea - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Aston Villa vs. Chelsea - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Premier League clash between Aston Villa and Chelsea, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

On the final day of the Premier League season, Chelsea make the trip to Aston Villa knowing that a victory will confirm their place in next season's Champions League.

Thomas Tuchel's men picked up a crucial 2-1 victory over Leicester City last time out to leapfrog the Foxes and move into third spot in the Premier League table with a one-point lead over both Leicester and Liverpool.

Match preview

Aston Villa made an impressive return to winning ways last time out, as they won 2-1 away at a Tottenham Hotspur side under the temporary charge of Ryan Mason.

The hosts led early through Steven Bergwijn, but an unfortunate Sergio Reguilon own goal levelled the game before Ollie Watkins put Dean Smith's side ahead late in the first half, and they would go on to seal all three points.

That followed a disappointing away defeat to Crystal Palace, as the Villains led 2-1 until the 75th minute, before Wilfried Zaha equalised and Tyrick Mitchell netted the winner for the hosts with five minutes to go.

While they have seen a dip in form since the turn of the calendar year, having picked up 26 points from their first 14 games of the campaign, the Midlands outfit still find themselves in a more than respectable position in 11th spot, with no room for movement up or down the table on the final day of the campaign.

That is definitely a major improvement on last season, when Smith's men avoided relegation by a single point thanks to a draw with West Ham United on the last day.

The Villains will now look to end the season in a positive manner as they aim to continue their improvement going into next campaign.

They take on a side who have far more to play for on Sunday, as Chelsea need a victory on the final day to ensure they finish in the top four.

Chelsea secured a huge victory last time out, as they took on Leicester City in a clash between sides in third and fourth spots in the top flight.

Antonio Rudiger opened the scoring early in the second half before Jorginho doubled their lead with a penalty, while Kelechi Iheanacho's 76th-minute goal for the Foxes was not enough to spark a comeback.

That was an instant piece of revenge for the Blues after their defeat to Leicester in the FA Cup final last Saturday, as Youri Tielemans fired a long-range effort past Kepa Arrizabalaga to fire his side to a 1-0 win.

Since Tuchel's appointment in January, the Blues have turned their season around, picking up 38 points from the 18 league matches under the control of the German.

As a result, and thanks to the crucial victory over Leicester, the London side have moved into pole position to qualify for the Champions League, which looked almost impossible at the turn of the year under Frank Lampard.

With the Champions League final also looming next Saturday, the Blues will look to end their season in style by lifting the continental trophy and sealing a top-four finish with a victory on the final day.

Aston Villa Premier League form:
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • W

Chelsea Premier League form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

Chelsea form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W

Team News

Aston Villa will remain without right-back Matty Cash through injury, while midfielder Morgan Sanson and winger Trezeguet should also miss out again.

Meanwhile, midfielder Ross Barkley is ineligible to play against his parent club, having had a loan spell in the Midlands this season to mixed success, and he looks to have played his last game for Smith's side.

They have recently been boosted by the return of talisman Jack Grealish, after his long spell out through injury played a major factor in their dip in form.

Smith could look to keep an unchanged starting lineup after an impressive victory last time out, with John McGinn and Marvelous Nakamba lining up in front of the back four of Ezri Konsa, Kourtney Hause, Tyrone Mings and Matt Targett.

With the Champions League final coming next Saturday, Tuchel would ideally look to rest some of his key players, but the importance of Sunday's match will mean that he may be forced to field his strongest possible side.

However, N'Golo Kante is unlikely to be risked after he was forced off early in the clash with Leicester City.

Mateo Kovacic was brought on for Kante in that game, and he formed an impressive pairing with Jorginho in the centre, with Tuchel expected to stick with the two midfielders for Sunday's clash.

Meanwhile, Andreas Christensen and Kai Havertz are unlikely to start, having both spent time out of the squad due to injury concerns.

In the absence of Havertz, Tuchel should stick with the front three of Christian Pulisic, Timo Werner and Mason Mount.

Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Konsa, Hause, Mings, Targett; McGinn, Nakamba; Traore, Grealish, El Ghazi; Watkins

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Mendy; Rudiger, Silva, Azpilicueta; Alonso, Jorginho, Kovacic, James; Mount, Werner, Pulisic

We say: Aston Villa 0-2 Chelsea

With the need for a victory to seal their spot in the Champions League next season, we see Tuchel's men getting over the line with a win at Villa Park.

The German has vastly improved the defensive structure of the Blues, while their dangerous front line should have more than enough to break through the Villains' defence.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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