Team news - Aston Villa v Chelsea

16 October 2009 05:01
Aston Villa's top four credentials will go under the microscope when they host Premier League leaders Chelsea at Villa Park. Martin O'Neill's side have bounced back from a below-par start to the season to move up to seventh place in the table, but Villa still don't appear to be as consistent as last season. They claimed a creditable 1-1 draw with Manchester City on their last outing but that followed a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Blackburn Rovers when they conceded a last-minute penalty to suffer their second loss of the season. All eyes will be on O'Neill's teamsheet on Saturday lunchtime to see whether Emile Heskey is included in the starting line-up. The England striker has gone public with his unhappiness at a lack of starts this season and even suggested that he could seek a transfer in January in order to protect his place in the World Cup squad. Heskey has started just Premier League game and finds himself behind John Carew and Gabby Agbonlahor in the pecking order. Ashley Young (foot), Curtis Davies (shoulder) and Stewart Downing (ankle) all remain absent, but Luke Young could return following a family bereavement. Chelsea arrive in the Midlands having put their title challenge back on track with a 2-0 win over Liverpool before the international break. The previous week's 3-1 humbling at the hands of Wigan - the first defeat of Carlo Ancelotti's managerial reign - had seen them lose top spot to Manchester United. However, the Blues looked back to their powerful and efficient best against Liverpool following goals from Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda. Didier Drogba earned the wrath of the opposition fans and players for some theatrics during the game, but the six-goal Ivory Coast striker looks to have rediscovered the hunger which made him one of the most feared strikers in the world under former boss Jose Mourinho. Ancelotti can also call on fit-again Joe Cole and goalkeeper Petr Cech is available following suspension.

Source: DSG