Premier League leaders Chelsea have the chance to maintain – or indeed extend – their five point gap over the chasing pack as they take on Aston Villa.
The home side dropped their first points of the season last time out at Manchester City, and despite taking the lead against 10 men and seeing former star Frank Lampard net the equaliser, it is a result they will happily take. It has been almost the perfect start, but manager Jose Mourinho is refusing to be carried away, even when his side are looking every bit the title favourites.
Aston Villa were the Blues’ nearest challengers until they conceded three goals in a crazy few minutes to lose comprehensively to Arsenal. It may serve as a reality check, but it will not lower their self belief ahead of this match, the third of an unenviable run of fixtures. Aside from their brief collapse against the Gunners, the defence is still a plus point, but they are yearning for Christian Benteke to make his comeback up front.
Ramires is the only slight doubt for Chelsea, with the Brazilian midfielder nursing a knee problem. Mourinho is likely to make changes from the Capital One Cup win over Bolton Wanderers.
The visitors are likely to have to wait another week for Benteke, while Libor Kozak is also still out. Skipper Ron Vlaar is a major doubt.
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