Chelsea vs Aston Villa Premier League Match Preview: AVFC Pose Threat

Ollie WatkinsChelsea host Aston Villa live on Sky Sports on Saturday (5.30pm), as they look to get back on track after tasting late disappointment last time out. The visitors will be looking to extend their recent unbeaten run, which currently stands at four games. Can either side get the win in this Premier League game? This CFC vs AVFC preview and betting tips aims to answer that.

Prior to the international break, it looked for all to see that Chelsea were on their way to securing three Premier League wins on the bounce for the first time since October. Nobody handed Everton’s Elliot Simms that script, which meant it was 90th minute agony for Graham Potter’s men.

The Blues have improved of late, so much so that they are now unbeaten in four games in all competitions, three of which have come in the Premier League. As CFC struggle to get near the top six, that draw last time out will probably have felt like a defeat. They now need to bounce back.

For Villa, the international break probably came at the wrong time, such has been their form of late. Unai Emery’s men come into this fixture having beaten Bournemouth in confident style last time out, scoring three goals for the first time in a competitive game since November. That win signalled four games without a defeat for the Villans, who have won three of their last four in the league. Such form should mean that they go to Stamford Bridge feeling quietly confident.

Blues improving?

Things are starting to look a little rosier for both Chelsea and Graham Potter, who looked destined to be out of a job around a month ago, but his team have since picked up some positive results, which means his future is as Chelsea manager is looking slightly less uncertain.

Prior to drawing against Everton before the international stoppage, a game that they dominated and probably deserved to win, Chelsea had won back-to-back Premier League games, beating Leeds and Leicester. In both of those games, especially the latter, they did something that they had not done in a long time: They looked threatening in the final third. Against Leicester, they not only created some decent scoring opportunities, but the end-product was there for the first time in a while. That was also the case against Everton, so things are looking up for Saturday’s hosts.

Villans ticking along nicely

It has not been the simplest campaign for Aston Villa, who have changed manager since the start of the season, but things now seem to be running quite smoothly at Villa Park. Under the astute stewardship or Unai Emery, Saturday’s visitors have made tidy progress, so much so that they are not at all out of the race for continental football. The top four is out of the question, as is fifth, but they are very much of the teams in the hunt for sixth and seventh places.

What has been particularly pleasing over the last few months is the away form of Emery’s men, who have lost just one of their last six away games in the Premier League, four of which they’ve won. It is not as if AVFC have had the easiest run of games either, beating the likes of Brighton and Tottenham, both of which currently sit in top seven.

Chelsea’s fixture

In recent times, this fixture has very much belonged to Chelsea, who have won each of their last four competitive games against Aston Villa. When the teams met earlier in the campaign, Chelsea won by two goals to nil at Villa Park, courtesy of two goals from Mason Mount, who is unlikely to feature this time around thanks to injury.

It has been a long time since AVFC won at Stamford Bridge, nine games in fact. Is now the time for them to change that?

Visitors offer a slice of value

Given their recent upturn in fortunes, the hosts are expected to get the job done here, at least that is what the early betting with the better of the UK bookies suggests. However, whether they have really turned a corner remains to be seen, while they are not exactly up against a team that has been rolling over in such games.

The Villans have shown themselves to be more than capable of grinding out a result on the road, which makes them look a little on the large side odds wise, so much so that ‘Aston Villa +1 goal’ on the handicap betting appeals.

Aston Villa’s only away defeat in the Premier League since November came at the Etihad, where they acquitted themselves significantly better than Chelsea did back in January. Barring that defeat to Manchester City, Emery’s men have looked hard to beat on the road, upsetting both Brighton and Spurs, which is not easy to do.

We saw against both Spurs and Brighton, that this Villa team can keep things tight before pouncing at the other end. In those two games against top-half opposition, Villa conceded expected goals total of just 0.7 and 0.6, producing 1.0 and 1.5 at the other end. Such stats bode well, especially given Chelsea’s offensive struggles.

Sure, the hosts scored twice against Everton in their latest home game, but doing the same against Villa may be tougher, while we should not automatically assume that their problems are over. Before that game against Toffees, they had scored just two goals in five home league matches.

Moreover, in Ollie Watkins, the visitors have what the hosts do not seem to possess. That is of course a regular goal-getter, somebody who really gives centre backs something to think about. This could be key on Saturday evening, especially as the Villans will look to hit on the break, which is a tactic that has worked against this low-scoring Chelsea team.

So for the betting tips for this CFC vs AVFC EPL match preview, we recommend just the one: