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Chelsea V Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge : Match Preview

Updated 21 Aug 2013 13:29:04

Chelsea V Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge : Match Preview

Chelsea V Aston Villa - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Blues near full strength

Defenders David Luiz and Tomas Kalas are Chelsea's only absentees for Wednesday's Barclays Premier League clash with Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge.


Brazil centre-back Luiz has a hamstring problem, but could return for Monday's trip to Manchester United, while Kalas suffered a fractured leg in pre-season.


Manager Jose Mourinho may opt to make a number of changes from the side which began last Sunday's 2-0 defeat of Hull, with the Old Trafford clash in mind.


Villa head to Chelsea on Wednesday earlier than planned owing to the Blues' UEFA Super Cup commitments at the end of the month, buoyed by their 3-1 win at Arsenal.


And Mourinho is wary of Villa following their success at the Emirates Stadium.


"It's not such a big surprise because Aston Villa can do that to any one of us," Mourinho said.


"Last season they had more points away from home than at Villa Park.


"They are a team with qualities to play away, to play the counter-attack game they played at the Emirates.


"They are a good team. It's not such a big drama, they can beat any one of the contenders."


Villa have a young side, as do Chelsea, but Mourinho's men boast an experienced core, with Frank Lampard at the centre.


Lampard had a penalty saved against Hull on Sunday but made amends by scoring with a free-kick in his first game of the new campaign.


For some time last season it appeared Chelsea were prepared to allow Lampard's contract to expire, before the club's record goalscorer agreed a one-year extension.


Mourinho insists the use of the 35-year-old Lampard must now be managed, though.


"He is not 25 anymore, so the crazy Lamps that wants to play every minute of a Carling Cup match against a team from the Championship, the crazy Frank that wants to play and beat the record of appearances and play every minute every match is not here anymore," Mourinho said.


"Now it's about to keep his performance high for the most time we can, for the most seasons we can."


Aston Villa defender Nathan Baker will miss out due to an ankle injury.


The centre-back was forced off during Villa's 3-1 win at Arsenal on Saturday and was replaced by Ciaran Clark, who should start in his place at Stamford Bridge.


Manager Paul Lambert should, however, welcome back key midfielder Yacouba Sylla, who missed the Emirates trip due to a twisted ankle. Midfielder Chris Herd (calf) is still not quite ready to return to action.


Lambert has told his Aston Villa side they owe it to themselves and their fans to atone for last season's 8-0 humiliation by Chelsea when the teams meet again.


Villa's capitulation at Stamford Bridge was arguably the lowest point of a difficult campaign as they battled relegation and suffered three bruising defeats around the Christmas period.


That loss at Stamford Bridge was followed by a 4-0 home battering by Tottenham and a worrying 3-0 defeat by Wigan at Villa Park, leaving Villa among the favourites to go down before a resurgence eventually pulled them to safety.


Lambert heads to Stamford Bridge with far more reasons for optimism this time, however, not least following his side's impressive 3-1 win away to Arsenal in Saturday's opening fixture.


The Scot said: "Saturday has gone and you have to look to the one coming up against Chelsea, who are probably one of the favourites to win the title.


"We'll give it a go, like we did on Saturday. All you can ask is that we go down and give a good account of ourselves.


"It's hard to get results against these teams at the best of times but when you're doing it back to back, against Arsenal and Chelsea, it makes it even harder.


"But they're ready for it, confidence is really high after what happened at Arsenal and we'll go down there and give it a right go."


Lambert is not dwelling on their harrowing visit to Chelsea last year but knows they can go some way to making up for it this time around.


"We owe it to ourselves as well to go down there and try to do better," he said.


"Our crowd have been absolutely brilliant. Even after that game they never turned on the lads. That speaks volumes for the supporters.


"Even though the fans were hurt and everybody at the football club was hurt, the supporters were a major catalyst in helping us last year.


"But I don't think about it (the 8-0 defeat) to be honest. I don't look back on it. It's a new season and there are a lot of new lads in the side.


"Chelsea have got a new manager and some new players so it's two totally different teams."



PA

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