Chelsea v Aston Villa

Last updated : 31 December 2010 By BBC Sport

Aston Villa's Ashley Young and Emile Heskey will be restored to the starting line-up after recovering from knee and ankle injuries respectively.

Defender Luke Young is still not fit enough to return from his recent ankle problem.


Suspended: Ivanovic (one match)

Injured: Alex (leg), Benayoun (Achilles), Zhirkov (calf)

Aston Villa

Injured: Weimann (ankle), L Young (ankle)


As the midnight chimes usher in the New Year, Aston Villa fans can breathe a sigh of relief that 2010 has drawn to a close. At this stage last season, their team had a water-tight defence, were two points off a Champions League spot and about to play in the Carling Cup semi-finals. Fast forward a year and they have won just one of their last seven matches, sit a point clear of the relegation zone, have conceded the joint-most amount of goals, and have a squad riddled with discontent.

If you keep clean sheets, you have a chance to win games... We have been guilty of being too naive and too indulgent defensively

Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier

Unfortunately, the start of 2011 looks set to offer them no respite as Gerard Houllier's beleaguered squad head to Stamford Bridge to face a Chelsea side who hammered them 7-1 in their last league meeting back in March.

Fortunately for Villa though, Chelsea's form has been just as miserable as their own. Although a win over Bolton on Wednesday stopped the rot, the boos that greeted the final whistle showed manager Carlo Ancelotti that the fans are far from impressed by their recent malaise.

At the midway point of the season, the Blues find themselves with their lowest points tally at this stage for nine years. And after a rip-roaring start to the season that saw them blaze 27 goals in their first 10 matches, a spell of impotence has seen them score just six times in nine games.

The win over Bolton did return them to fourth place and they lie a far from insurmountable four points behind leaders Manchester United. However, a shallow squad, that even captain John Terry says is not as strong as it was, will be pushed to the absolute limit by a punishing fixture list.



• Aston Villa have won just two of their last 13 league matches with Chelsea.

• Villa's 7-1 hammering in their last visit to Stamford Bridge in March 2010 was their biggest defeat in the top flight for more than 23 years.

• Chelsea's Frank Lampard has scored nine career goals against Aston Villa - more than he has scored against any other side.

• This is the 142nd meeting between the sides. Aston Villa have won 55 times, Chelsea 53 and there have been 33 draws.

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• Chelsea have not scored more than once in a league match for nine games. The last time they went nine consecutive games without scoring at least twice was in March/April 1995.

• Chelsea have dropped five points at home in the league this season, which is as many as they did in the whole of the last campaign.

• They are looking to win back-to-back league matches for the first time in over two months.

• They have conceded just four goals at home this season - fewer than any other top-flight club.

Aston Villa

• Aston Villa have fewer points after 19 games than in any other Premier League season except 1994/95 (16 points).

• Villa have conceded nine goals from headers this season. Only West Ham United (10) have conceded more headers in the top flight.

• Manager Gerard Houllier has won four, drawn two and lost five of his 11 previous league matches against Chelsea. He lost four of his five league visits to Stamford Bridge when he was in charge of Liverpool, but he did win his last match there - a 1-0 victory in January 2004.

• The Villans have picked up just four away points this season, the equal-fewest in the division with Wolves.



Anelka: 10 goals (3 league); Malouda: 9 goals (8 league)

Aston Villa

Downing: 6 goals (5 league); Heskey: 5 goals (2 league)


Referee: Lee Mason

Assistant referees: Peter Bankes & Peter Kirkup

Fourth official: Stuart Attwell


Chelsea (W1-0 v Bolton, h): Cech, Bosingwa (Ferreira 90), Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Essien, Lampard, Anelka (Kalou 90), Drogba, Malouda. Subs not used: Turnbull, Van Aanholt, Bruma, Kakuta, McEachran.

Aston Villa (L0-4 v Man City, a): Friedel, Lichaj, Collins, Cuellar, Warnock, Albrighton (Delfouneso 56), Reo-Coker (Pires 81), Petrov, Downing, Bannan (Delph 56), Agbonlahor. Subs not used: Guzan, Clark, Hogg, Herd.

Source: BBC Sport

Source: BBC Sport