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Premier League | Gameweek 35
Apr 27, 2024 at 8pm UK
Villa Park

Aston Villa
2 - 2

Cucurella (4' og.), Rogers (42')
Luiz (49'), Rogers (64'), Bailey (66')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Madueke (62'), Gallagher (81')
Caicedo (49'), Mudryk (82'), Silva (87'), Badiashile (90+10'), Madueke (90+10')

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

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

On the back of contrasting results in the previous round of Premier League fixtures, Aston Villa and Chelsea renew acquaintances at Villa Park on Saturday evening.

While the Lions came from behind to beat Bournemouth 3-1 last weekend, the Blues were on the wrong end of a 5-0 scoreline at the hands of London rivals Arsenal on Tuesday.

Match preview

Since losing 4-1 at Manchester City at the beginning of April, Aston Villa have collected seven points from their last three Premier League games to put themselves in the driving seat to secure their first top-four finish since 1995-96.

The Lions were forced to play out a 3-3 draw with Brentford a few weeks ago, but they have since beaten both Arsenal and Bournemouth, with goals from Morgan Rogers, Moussa Diaby and Leon Bailey securing a comeback victory - their 20th of the season - over the Cherries at Villa Park last weekend.

Unai Emery, who extended his contract as Villa manager until 2027 on Tuesday, has four games remaining to secure Champions League football for the West Midlands outfit, who sit fourth in the table and can move nine points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur with a win over Chelsea, although Spurs will then have three games in hand, starting with the North London derby on Sunday.

Aston Villa are sure to have one eye on their Europa Conference League semi-final with Olympiacos next week, but they must first shift their focus to Saturday's Premier League clash with Chelsea and will endeavour to complete their first league double over the Blues since 1989-90, after winning 1-0 in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge in September last year.

Only the current top three in the Premier League have accumulated more home points at this stage of the season than Aston Villa (38), who have also won four of their last five matches at Villa Park in all competitions, but Emery's men were beaten the last time they played host to Chelsea, losing 3-1 in an FA Cup fourth-round replay in February.

After putting together a promising eight-game unbeaten run in all competitions, including a thumping 6-0 home win over Everton, Chelsea have since been brought back down to earth, with a 1-0 defeat to Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals followed just three days later by an emphatic five-goal drubbing by Arsenal in the Premier League.

Leandro Trossard netted an early opener for the Gunners, before Kai Havertz haunted his former club with two second-half goals, and Ben White was also at the double to condemn Chelsea, who were wasteful once again in front of goal, to their 11th league defeat of the season.

Amid reports claiming Chelsea's hierarchy are yet to decide whether Mauricio Pochettino will remain in charge of the club next season, the Argentine coach is under pressure to deliver European football for the West Londoners, who sit ninth in the top-flight standings and three points behind the top seven, while they are six points adrift of Manchester United in sixth spot.

Chelsea crucially have at least one game in hand on each of the three teams above them, though, and they will relish Saturday's trip to Villa Park where they have won seven of their last nine Premier League away games with Villa, scoring 20 goals in the process.

Having said that, the Blues have only won two of their last eight top-flight fixtures outside of London, losing five and drawing two, and have lost their last two league meetings with Villa; Chelsea have not lost more consecutive games against the Lions since a run of four between 1978 and 1984.

Aston Villa Premier League form:

Aston Villa form (all competitions):

Chelsea Premier League form:

Chelsea form (all competitions):

Team News

Aston Villa are still having to cope without Boubacar Kamara, Emiliano Buendia, Tyrone Mings (all knee), Jacob Ramsey (foot), Alex Moreno (calf) and Nicolo Zaniolo (unspecified) due to injury.

However, star midfielder Douglas Luiz is available to return from suspension and is expected to earn an immediate recall to the starting lineup, potentially linking arms with John McGinn and Youri Tielemans in the middle of the pitch, which would see either Rogers, Diaby or Bailey make way.

Ollie Watkins, who has 19 Premier League goals to his name and scored the winner in the reverse league fixture at Stamford Bridge, is set to lead the line, while Emery will ponder whether to recall either Diego Carlos or Clement Lenglet in defence - both players started against the Blues in the FA Cup two months ago.

As for Chelsea, they have confirmed that Enzo Fernandez has undergone groin surgery and will miss the rest of the season, joining Malo Gusto, Ben Chilwell, Wesley Fofana (all knee) Romeo Lavia (thigh), Reece James (hamstring) and Levi Colwill (toe) on the sidelines.

Christopher Nkunku, Lesley Ugochukwu (both hamstring) and Robert Sanchez (illness) have all taken part in "partial training", but it remains to be seen whether they will be ready to return to the matchday squad on Saturday, while Raheem Sterling and Carney Chukwuemeka have both emerged as doubts as they are "undergoing medical assessment".

However, 25-goal attacker Cole Palmer, who missed the defeat at Arsenal through illness, has returned to training and is in contention to return to the starting lineup on Saturday, potentially operating in the number 10 role, with Conor Gallagher moving into a deeper midfield role alongside Moises Caicedo in the absence of Fernandez.

Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Konsa, Carlos, Torres, Digne; Bailey, Luiz, Tielemans, McGinn; Rogers; Watkins

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Petrovic; Disasi, Chalobah, Silva, Cucurella; Caicedo, Gallagher; Madueke, Palmer, Mudryk; Jackson

We say: Aston Villa 2-2 Chelsea

Chelsea's struggles in front of goal have been evident in recent matches, but the expected return of top scorer Palmer would be a huge boost for the Blues against a Villa outfit that have only kept two clean sheets in their last 11 league games.

With that in mind as well as the previous three meetings between the two clubs this season, a closely-fought yet entertaining contest could be in store, one that may result in the spoils being shared.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Premier League Table
CManchester CityMan City38287396346291
4Aston Villa382081076611568
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs382061274611366
7Newcastle UnitedNewcastle381861485622360
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd38186145758-160
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham381410146074-1452
10Crystal Palace381310155758-149
11Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton381212145562-748
14Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38137185065-1546
17Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest3899204967-1832
RLuton TownLuton3868245285-3326
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd38372835104-6916
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