Mauricio Pochettino’s men are back at Stamford Bridge on Sunday but face another tricky test. Look ahead with our Chelsea vs Aston Villa prediction and preview.
Chelsea vs Aston Villa: The Quick Hits
- Aston Villa have 54.7% likelihood of leaving Stamford Bridge with at least a point, according to the Opta supercomputer.
- Of the clubs to be in the Premier League throughout 2023, no team has fewer wins than Chelsea; only Manchester City have more than Villa.
- Chelsea have not lost back-to-back league games against Villa since 1933.
Another summer splurge and Mauricio Pochettino’s arrival as their new head coach were the remedies to the doom and gloom that enveloped Chelsea for much of last season; lots more talented young players signed to work under a manager with a track record of developing youth. Hope was kindled…
It didn’t last very long.
Chelsea’s dealings may end up providing long-term success, who knows, but for the most part they continue to bear a striking resemblance to the team that muddled its way to the club’s worst Premier League finish (12th) since ending the 1993-94 season 14th.
Sunday’s visit of Aston Villa promises to be another big test. Whereas Chelsea have managed just five Premier League wins in 2023 – the joint fewest among ever-present clubs – Unai Emery’s side have racked up 16, a tally bettered only by Manchester City (22).
It’s worth bearing in mind that Villa have been a little erratic during these early weeks of 2023-24, scoring three or more goals in each of their three wins and losing by 3+ goals in both of their two defeats, but they are seventh going into the weekend and Chelsea haven’t beaten top-half opposition (excluding Matchday 1 fixtures) since April 2022 when they saw off West Ham.
Clearly, Chelsea’s issues are complex and plentiful, but it’s also possible to see positives. Sure, their -5.3 expected goals (xG) underperformance is the second worst in the Premier League (-5.6 for Everton), but their 10.3 xG is the fifth highest; creating chances hasn’t been a problem, it’s the finishing that’s letting them down, and this could solve itself if the lively Nicolas Jackson manages to gain some confidence in front of goal.
Similarly, only City (three), Arsenal and Liverpool (both four) have conceded fewer goals than Chelsea, while their 5.3 xG against is the third lowest in the top flight; so, they’re not giving up lots of clear-cut opportunities either, and territorially they’ve been very dominant as shown by the graphic below and the fact their average share of possession (69.6%) is the biggest in the league.
While their opening five fixtures may not have been the toughest on paper, there are some causes for optimism and this is obviously still a squad that’s building cohesion, which isn’t an easy task when you have as many as 12 players absent, as was the case for last weekend’s 0-0 draw with Bournemouth.
Pochettino is expecting to have a few of those back this weekend, though. Noni Madueke, Marc Cucurella, Moisés Caicedo, Benoît Badiashile, Armando Broja, Trevoh Chalobah and Reece James could all potentially be back in contention on Sunday in what would be a welcome relief; Chelsea’s substitutes against Luton (20 years, 318 days) and Bournemouth (21 years, 54 days) had the youngest average ages of all benches in the Premier League this season.
Villa, on the other hand, could welcome back Bertrand Traoré, Jacob Ramsey and Diego Carlos as they hope to pile on the misery for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea vs Aston Villa Head-to-Head
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Chelsea do boast a strong recent record against Villa, winning 13 of their past 17 Premier League encounters.
A Villa victory certainly wouldn’t be unheard of, though; they were 2-0 victors at Stamford Bridge as recently as April thanks to goals from John McGinn and Ollie Watkins.
But it should be highlighted that Chelsea haven’t lost consecutive home games to Villa since a run of three between 1930 and 1933. It’s also been almost 30 years since Villa won back-to-back leagues games against Chelsea.
Similarly, April’s away win at Stamford Bridge was Villa’s first in over 11 years, with the last before that coming in December 2011.
As already mentioned, Chelsea’s form in 2023 has been pretty wretched, winning just five games in the Premier League. On top of that, their average of 0.86 goals per game over the same period is the lowest of the teams to feature in the top flight both last season and this.
Stamford Bridge has so often been a fortress for Chelsea, particularly over the past two decades, yet they head into the weekend having won only two of their past 13 home games in the league, with those coming against Leeds United – who were relegated last term – and a Luton Town side who still haven’t won a point in the Premier League since promotion.
They’ve already suffered six home league losses in 2023, their most in a single calendar year since losing seven times on their own patch in 1993.
By contrast, Villa have been one of the form sides in the Premier League this year. However, after winning six of their first eight away league games under Emery (D1 L1), they’ve claimed just one victory from their seven most recent games on the road (D2 L4).
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off this weekend, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides:
Chelsea vs Aston Villa Prediction
Chelsea may have been unconvincing for a while now, particularly when it comes to putting the ball in the net, but the Opta supercomputer is still calculating them to be favourites here.
In 45.3% of the pre-match simulations, Chelsea made the most of home advantage to come out on top.
Aston Villa’s win probability of 26.2% may look a little low, but combined with the likelihood of a draw (28.5%), the prediction model suggests the visitors are more likely to come away with at least a point than not (54.7%).