It is first against third when Aston Villa come to Stamford Bridge for a showdown this afternoon.
Paul Lambert’s side has started the season remarkably well and find themselves third in the league, only three points behind us at the top of the table. Their form does however seem to have taken a little dip after losing 0-3 at home to Arsenal last weekend.
Chelsea team news
Ramires is set to miss out with a groin injury but Diego Costa is back and fit to start the game. Jose Mourinho is expected to change around pretty much the whole team again after the win against Bolton on Wednesday night, meaning Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard, Nemanja Matic, John Terry and Thibaut Courtois all will start.
We go in to this match on the back of a Capital One Cup win and two 1-1 draws in Premier League and Champions League respectively. Having said that, we have not lost a league game at home to Villa in 12 years, and Mourinho should be keen on keeping that stat intact come 5pm this evening.
With Costa back and fit to start we will always look dangerous going forward, and hopefully we will be able to kill the game off and not slip up as we did at Manchester City and against Schalke.
Aston Villa team news
Paul Lambert’s “new” Aston Villa features a lot of experience compared to last season’s youthful side. Philippe Senderos, Kieran Richardson and Joe Cole are among Lambert’s recruits this summer with Senderos and Richardson most likely to start.
Also Tom Cleverley has been signed for Villa and will start in a midfield three with Ashley Westwood and Fabien Delph. Their front three has a lot of pace and Lambert will probably set out to play the same way that got them a 1-0 win at Anfield against Liverpool a fortnight ago.
Aston Villa come to Stamford Bridge with only four conceded goals, so getting that first goal this afternoon will be crucial. In recent years we have sent them packing with 8-0 and 7-1 defeats, though a scoreline like that is rather unlikely today.
Christian Benteke is ruled out to injury alongside Ron Vlaar and Libor Kozak.
They are a difficult opponent, it’s a difficult match, they have many qualities as a team.
We are going for a solid 3-0 win. What is your score prediction?