The Super Sunday fixture this weekend sees two sides in a good bit of form lock horns as Aston Villa travel to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea. The Blues secured their place in the Capital One Cup semi-final on Wednesday with a convincing 5-1 win at Leeds United, whereas Villa have scored seven goals in their last two matches, both away from home.
Rafael Benitez might feel as though he is winning a few fans over at the Bridge, but he still has a lot of work to do. By the time they kick-off in this one, Chelsea could be in fifth position, so there will be big pressure to get back into the top four.
The Spaniard of course has a squad full of talent and they should be winning this encounter, especially if Juan Mata is anywhere near his best. The midfielder has chipped in with twelve goals across all competitions this campaign and is proving to be one of the top playmakers in the Premier League.
Mata can cause Villa a lot of problems this weekend, but also needs Fernando Torres to be on form and converting the chances given to him. You never know what you are going to get with Torres, but six goals in five games suggests that he might finally be shaking off that £50 million price-tag.
As for Villa, they can come here full of confidence after a superb win at Liverpool last weekend. Paul Lambert’s career at the club did not start how he would have wanted, but he might now be getting what he wants from his squad.
He has players that are all willing to work hard for him and put in a big shift throughout the 90 minutes. That is why maybe Darren Bent is not getting a game as Lambert clearly doesn’t feel as though he works hard enough.
Christian Benteke is the man leading the line at the moment and he is doing a quite superb job. The Belgian is everything that you want in a centre-forward with his pace, power and strength, and he runs the channels when needed, bringing other people into the game.
Let’s not forget though, Villa are still in a relegation battle at the moment and need to go on a good run of results to move away from trouble. It might be tough for them to get anything here as Chelsea are desperate for points – but they are sure to give it their all.
Benitez will expect the crowd to be singing Roberto Di Matteo’s name on 16 minutes, but also knows a good Christmas period could win over some people doubting him at the club. An enthralling 90 minutes awaits.