Chelsea continue to struggle to string meaningful results together and it looks as though they could be competing for fourth place at best currently but with the January transfer window just around the corner Andre Villas-Boas will have a chance to add to his already expensively assembled squad. There is talk of £150m being available to spend and that sort of figure could even put them back in the title race. Aston Villa would love to have just a fraction of that to spend, a tightening of the purse strings has seen them struggle this season, especially in front of goal, and Alex McLeish needs to get his side firing if they are to salvage anything this season.
Chelsea's struggles in defence continue which is one of the reasons they have already moved for Bolton's Gary Cahill, they need the England defender as soon as the window opens. Chelsea are without Branislav Ivanovic whilst Jose Bosingwa will undergo a late fitness test. He could be replaced by fellow Portuguese defender Paulo Ferreira. Defensive midfielder John Obi Mikel is definitely out so Oriol Romeu should continue in that role.
With Aston Villa struggling for goals it is no wonder they are praying that Darren Bent is fit for this match, he has missed the last three games with a groin injury, a run that has seen Villa scored just one goal. Alex McLeish will definitely be without Emile Heskey for this match whilst James Collins is a major doubt but Alan Hutton is available once again following his one match ban for being sent off against Arsenal.
Chelsea may have picked up the habit of conceding the odd goal but four goals conceded in six matches isn't a bad record, especially against a team struggling for goals as much as Aston Villa are. They have managed just three goals in seven games and two of those came against Bolton who have the worst defence in the league so their chances of scoring at Stamford Bridge look slim. That means Chelsea should only need to score once to win this and and it's been over two months since Chelsea failed to score in a league match so a win and a clean sheet looks likely for Chelsea making the win to nil bet on Chelsea the best play in this fixture.
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