Chelsea are looking to back to winning ways now they return to the Premier League following their absence last week at the Club World Cup.
The Blues had a long journey to Japan and eventually ended up short last Sunday losing 1-0 to Brazilian side Corinthians. They did put in a dazzling display though midweek against Leeds with a 5-1 victory at Elland Road to dispel any hangover from their previous defeat.
Aston Villa will need no invitation to start performing as Paul Lambert’s side have shown that they are really starting to hit their peak as of late.
Christian Benteke was a menace to the Liverpool defence last weekend as they managed to get a highly unlikely but well deserved 3-1 victory at Anfield.
This fixture poses a similarly tough venue to secure 3 points and Chelsea will be looking to up their league form under Rafa Benitez.
Paul Lambert’s young side may appear to be finding their feet but extending their current unbeaten run at Stamford Bridge to seven games will be a tall order.
Gary Cahill is welcomed back into the fold after he served his ban in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday. John Terry remains absent with a knee injury so the England international could slot right back in. John Obi Mikel and Daniel Sturridge remain unavailable too.
Aston Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland is back to face last season’s European Champions. The Republic of Ireland international was out last time with illness. Ron Vlaar and Agbonlahor are highly unlikely to make it. Darren Bent is definitely going to be missing.
Rafael Benitez has suffered just one defeat in 12 meetings with Aston Villa as a Premier League manager (W7 D4) and would expect to continue that here.
Prediction: Chelsea 1-2 Aston Villa
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