Chelsea welcome Aston Villa to Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon and are favourites to pick up all three points, but the two sides are having contrasting fortunes this season.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men are 14th in the table after winning just one of their first five games while Villa are 7th after three wins from four, but there are reasons to believe why the hosts could come out on top.
Villa struggling away from home
Chelsea lost their last home game to West Ham, but they will take hope from how bad Villa have been on the road. The Claret and Blues have lost three of five away games in all competitions, conceding 12 goals. Unai Emery’s side were thrashed 5-0 at Newcastle United in August and 3-0 at Liverpool in September while losing 3-2 at Legia Warszawa days ago.
Not only have the visitors struggled on their travels, shipping three goals in each of their last two away outings, they might suffer a European hangover after Thursday’s Europa Conference League clash. Chelsea, however, will be well-rested as they don’t have any European football getting in the way.
Chelsea dominate head-to-heads with Villa
Villa beat the Blues at Stamford Bridge months ago, but they don’t have the best overall record against Chelsea. The Claret and Blues have managed only two wins in the last nine years, suffering 10 defeats, so it would be a shock if they managed a repeat of April’s victory.
Chelsea have lost only three times at home to Villa since 1998, so the Bridge hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the visitors. Pochettino’s men are fallible right now, having finished outside of the top-half last season, but one constant in the last 25 years has been a home win or draw.
Sterling a good omen for Chelsea?
Villa won’t be happy to see that Sterling is coming off the back of decent form ahead of Sunday’s clash. The 28-year-old has two goals from five games this season, leading Chelsea’s charts for successful dribbles and fouls won, and seems to do well in this fixture.
Sterling has played against Villa 15 times, winning on 10 occasions while having a hand in five goals from his last eight league meetings, so he’ll be one to watch. The England international hasn’t lost in a league outing to the Villans since 2014, so can he strike again?