ASTON VILLA host Chelsea on Saturday evening in the Premier League. Jack Lambden (@_JackL_) analyses the encounter.
Aston Villa v Chelsea | Saturday 14th March 2020, 17:30 | Sky Sports
Chelsea travel to relegation-threatened Aston Villa in good spirits and confident mood following impressive back-to-back wins against Merseyside opposition, scoring six goals without reply.
In terms of performances, manager Frank Lampard noted that the 4-0 demolition of Everton reminded him of many of Chelsea’s displays at Stamford Bridge this season but on this occasion, they took they chances.
What would have probably impressed the former captain the most though in the match against the Toffees was limiting Carlo Ancelotti’s away side to only three shots in the entirety of the game which shows how dominant they were from the first whistle to the last.
A quiet afternoon would have been welcomed for the recently out-of-favour goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and his return to form is timely considering the other players missing through the spine of the Blues team including N’Golo Kante, Jorginho (suspension), Christian Pulisic and Tammy Abraham.
Eighteen year-old Billy Gilmour could continue in midfield after a couple of Man of the Match performances in his recent starts and his energy in the middle of the park could give Villa a real tough time here.
Dean Smith’s squad have at times this season looked up to the fight but ultimately, it looks as if they are going to fall short of the quality required to retain their Premier League status in my view.
Smith was backed heavily last summer which had onlookers questioning why more faith wasn’t put into the core of players that got Villa to the top flight in the first place. Sure, Jack Grealish, John McGinn and Tyrone Mings look comfortable at this level, but the some £50m spent on Douglas Luiz, Wesley, Trezeguet and Samatta simply hasn’t worked.
Smith has tried different combinations in defence to try and plug the gap but individual errors (10 leading to goals this season, more than any other team) and no clean sheets away from home leave the team with the unwanted record of the most goals conceded in the Premier League this term – an average of two per game.
Five defeats in a row is alarming and although the form at Villa park is much more encouraging, when they have lost on home turf it has been, unsurprisingly, rather goal heavy.
All six of Villa’s home defeats have seen Over 2.5 Goals and in getting Chelsea onside, I want to add that line into the bet which is 13/10 with Betway. The Villans’ games down Trinity Road have averaged 3.23 goals and that’s without even factoring in some eventful cup ties in front of their own supporters.
Chelsea’s away games have averaged 3.79 goals, the highest in the Premier League and six of their seven away victories in the league have seen the ball hit the net more than twice.
Chelsea will be buoyed in knowing that they’ve beaten their opponents in the last five head-to-head meetings, including a 2-1 success back in December and a man that scored that day in addition to the most recent match against Everton is Mason Mount, so I want to look at him more closely.
Mount is having a really good breakthrough season for the Londoners and certainly loves an effort on goal. Of his 68 Premier League shots this season, 36 of them (52%) have come outside the box and with Mount so often over free-kicks around the box for the Blues, I’m happy to back the youngster to have a shot on target outside the box which is Evens with SkyBet.
No team in the league is facing more shots than Villa per match at 18.1 on average and with them also in the top four sides for fouls conceded, there could be chances for Mount to hit the target from a dead-ball situation.