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Aston Villa vs Chelsea - Match preview and team news

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By Tim Doel

Saturday 31 March 2012

With the sad news that Aston Villa midfielder Stiliyan Petrov has been diagnosed with acute leukaemia, this tie will serve as another opportunity to put the game of football into perspective. All at A Different League wish him well with his treatment.

Form: Villa come into the tie having won just once in their last eight outings in all competitions, including a 3-0 defeat to Arsenal last weekend. This has seen the Villains drop down to 15th place in the Premier League, and the pressure mounting on manager Alex McLeish.

Chelsea meanwhile have been given a new lease of life since interim manager Roberto Di Matteo took over from Andre Villas-Boas – five wins in the last seven, with the only defeat in that time coming away to Manchester City. However the Blues must improve upon their away form, having not won away in the league since the 2nd January when they beat Wolves.

Currently seated in 5th place, Chelsea will be trying to reduce the five point gap that divides them from Tottenham in the all important last Champions League place.

Team news: With Alan Hutton’s hamstring injury ruling him out for two weeks, Eric Lichaj is expected to come into the side at right-back. Charles N’Zogbia is out of the side with a knee injury, and joins Petrov, Darren Bent, Richard Dunne, Fabian Delph and Ciaran Clarke.

For Chelsea Branislav Ivanovic comes into the side following a thigh strain, while midweek Champions League absentees Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and Gary Cahill are likely to come into the side having been well rested.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Aston Villa v Chelsea

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