EPL - Aston Villa v Chelsea

Image Source: Alamy Stock Photo

2023/24 English Premier League
Matchday 35
Aston Villa v Chelsea
Villa Park
Birmingham, England
Saturday, 27 April 2024
Kick-off is at 21h00 
Aston Villa will look to firm their grip on fourth place in the Premier League when they welcome Chelsea to Villa Park on Saturday, April 27 in the late kick-off.
The Villans have moved ahead of Tottenham in the race to clinch the final UEFA Champions League berth after winning three of their last five games and picking up 10 points out of a possible 15.
Unai Emery's side went six points clear of Spurs after beating Bournemouth 3-1 at home on April 21, although their top-four rivals do have two games in hand albeit with an inferior goal difference.
The Blues will be licking their wounds after suffering a heavy 5-0 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, which came just eight days after they crushed Everton 6-0 at Stamford Bridge.
It was their biggest loss under Mauricio Pochettino and halted an eight-match unbeaten run, leaving them ninth in the standings. However, the EFL Cup finalists have two games in hand on the teams around them and could go above Manchester United (6th) on goal difference in the end.

Leon Bailey
Image Source: Alamy Stock Photo

In team news, the hosts continue to be without Boubacar Kamara, Emiliano Buendia, Tyrone Mings (all knee), Jacob Ramsey (ankle), Alex Moreno (calf) and Nicolo Zaniolo, but Douglas Luiz returns from a two-match suspension. Cole Palmer missed the clash with the Gunners due to illness
and he could come back into contention against Villa, although Wesley Fofana, Malo Gusto, Ben Chilwell (all knee), Romeo Lavia, Lesley Ugochukwu, Reece James, Christopher Nkunku (all thigh), Levi Colwill (ankle) and Robert Sanchez (illness) remain on the sidelines for the visitors.
Emery insists the West Midlands giants are motivated to achieve something special this season, having also reached the Europa Conference League semi-finals after beating Lille on penalties.
"It's been a big effort and a really, really good week," the Spaniard said. "Now we have to try to get other challenges and fourth in the table, fighting against Tottenham. It will be very difficult but we have to try to get this challenge.
"We have to do it in our way from now until the end of the season. We are very motivated to get something as well in Europe and we are in the semi-final. For the end of the season, we are very motivated."
Pochettino bemoaned another inconsistent performance from his players after they had shown their best side against Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals just three days earlier.
"It's difficult because we are talking after nearly one season in the same way, but it's impossible to see Saturday at Wembley a fantastic performance, competing really well against one of the best teams in the world like Manchester City, and then today," the Argentine said.
"You can lose games against a team like Arsenal that is fighting for the Premier League, but it is the way we compete, three days ago and then today. We needed to make changes to the starting line-up for different reasons, but that is the inconsistency we have been showing all season.
"Three days ago it was a fantastic game, great performance and we deserved to go to the final. Today you can use any words to describe our performance, it wasn't good."

Head-to-Head (Last Five Premier League Meetings)

Matches - 5
Aston Villa wins - 2
Chelsea wins - 3
Draws - 0

Premier League Matchday 35 fixtures:

Saturday, April 27
13h30: West Ham United v Liverpool
16h00: Fulham v Crystal Palace
16h00: Manchester United v Burnley
16h00: Newcastle United v Sheffield United
16h00: Wolverhampton Wanderers v Luton Town
18h30: Everton v Brentford
21h00: Aston Villa v Chelsea
Sunday, April 28
15h00: Bournemouth v Brighton & Hove Albion
15h00: Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal
17h30: Nottingham Forest v Manchester City

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Published: 04/26/2024