A big opportunity at Chelsea today and a chance

It would be wrong of me to not write that it was a great team performance against Crystal Palace on Boxing Day before diving straight into Chelsea today, so that is where I'll start.

It was an all round excellent performance and even though we had a man sent off in the first half, you wouldn't have known about it in the second half. We controlled the game with possession and created chances. And that goal from El Ghazi, it seems to be working for him right now and it's going to be tough for Trézéguet to get back into the team if he keeps scoring goals.


And beating Crystal Palace has created that opportunity for us. A win today would put us three points ahead of Chelsea with two games in hand. But it wont be easy, despite the poor run Chelsea have had. But I no longer think of us as the team that ends poor runs for other teams.

We have a chance today and it comes down to that thing I wrote about earlier in the season and it's about going out to win, as in not sitting back and allowing Chelsea the time to get into their game. If we rattle them early and win the first half we create that opportunity for ourselves again. It's all about creating the opportunities. Today could be a good day, because a win isn't just three points.

But we can't forget the Chelsea threat. They're not the Chelsea they used to be. They have Frank the Bank managing them and while he's still learning, he's learning with a very impressive set of players and that always helps. Look at Mourinho. He has always had a great set of players and always brought players in. Frank has learnt at his feet and he will get those players to play to their strengths.

And we have to know this. Knowing this means we know how to approach the game. There is a chance for us today and it's a good one.

Match facts from the BBC

Head-to-head

  • Chelsea have won 10 of their last 11 Premier League matches against Aston Villa, including the last six in a row.
  • Villa have not won at Stamford Bridge since a 3-1 Premier League victory in December 2011. It is Villa's only away success in this fixture in 18 years.

Chelsea

  • Chelsea have lost three of their last four Premier League matches following an unbeaten run of 17 fixtures in all competitions.
  • However, they are unbeaten in six home games, winning four and drawing two.
  • Chelsea's tally of 25 points is their second-lowest after 15 matches during Roman Abramovich's reign, after registering 15 points at this stage in 2015-16.
  • The Blues have not lost their final Premier League match of a calendar year since a 3-1 defeat against Villa in 2011.
  • Tammy Abraham's 85th-minute goal at Arsenal on Boxing Day was Chelsea's first shot on target in the match.
  • Abraham has scored 21 goals since the start of last season, more than double the tally of any other Chelsea player.
  • Jorginho has missed three of his last six penalties for the club, having scored his opening eight in all competitions.

Aston Villa

  • Aston Villa have won eight of their opening 13 Premier League fixtures for only the second time, emulating 1998-99.
  • Villa's tally of 25 points after 13 games is their best in the Premier League for 22 years.
  • A ninth win of the campaign versus Chelsea would match their total number of victories from last season.
  • Villa's only away league loss came at West Ham on 30 November, winning all five of their other games on the road.
  • They have recorded an unrivalled eight league clean sheets this season - one more than they registered in the entirety of 2019-20.
  • The Villans have gone four successive Premier League games without conceding for the first time since February 2010.
  • Ollie Watkins has failed to score in six games after registering eight in his first 10 Villa appearances.