Chelsea go into the match against Villa looking to back up a solid 2-0 win in their opening league fixture against Hull City.
Chelsea will be without key defender David Luiz who remains unavailable with a hamstring problem but several players who were named on the bench last Sunday could be in line to start the game.
This is not a fixture that Aston Villa will have very fond memories of as they were thumped 8-0 last season, causing manager Paul Lambert to apologise to the travelling Aston Villa supporters.
Here is the possible eleven Jose Mourinho could go with for the match.
GK – Petr Cech
Cech is not going to be dropped this season. In terms of Premier League goalkeepers, there are few with more experience and quality when it comes to shot stopping, command of the penalty area and leadership rubbing off on the back four.
RB – Branislav Ivanovic
Ivanovic is arguably better at centre back but is a more than efficient alternative to Cesar Azpilicueta at right back. He offers strength and aggression which is important because the flanks could be one of the areas of this Chelsea side that Aston Villa look to exploit.
CB – Gary Cahill
Cahill is one of the most promising centre backs in England. Don’t be at all surprised to see him as the one constant in the back four for most of the season. His pace will be vital when matching up against Christian Benteke who will be playing on the shoulder of the Chelsea back four.
CB – John Terry
This is probably one of the rare occasions where Terry will play back-to-back games within a few days of each other. The Chelsea skipper’s experience and leadership skills will be crucial against the pace of Aston Villa’s counter attacks.
LB – Ashley Cole
There’s no reason to switch Cole for Ryan Bertrand if the experience left back isn’t injured or doesn’t need a break. Cole guarantees efficiency in defence as well as a supply line out on the left which is important as Chelsea normally line up with a narrow midfield.
LM – Eden Hazard
Jose Mourinho has urged Hazard to become more of a top player for Chelsea, urging him to show more responsibility and ambition in the current side. He may well drift out to the left for this game where he played much of last season but he’s a threat from anywhere.
CM – Juan Mata
Don’t be surprised to see Juan Mata coming back into the team at the expense of Frank Lampard. Lampard, similarly to Terry, is in a position where he’s not going to be able to start back-to-back matches frequently and if the Spaniard has recovered from a muscle problem it seems naïve not to get him back in the team.
CM – Ramires
Ramires has been very effective for Chelsea in that holding role just in front of the back four, connecting that part of the side with the midfield. Michael Essien is the only player who could oust him for this match but Villa are too dangerous on the counter for Mourinho to take any risks.
CM – Kevin De Bruyne
De Bruyne was man of the match in the win against Hull City so it would be a little harsh to drop him for this match. He looks like a very similar player to how Paul Scholes played the majority of his career at Manchester United and if he can maintain the momentum he has created, he and Chelsea will have very good seasons.
RM – Oscar
Oscar also had a very good game against Hull which makes it difficult for Mourinho to drop him. The danger of playing him at right midfield is that he’ll be slightly out of position, relying on Ivanovic to get forward and provide some width on the right flank because Oscar’s natural tendency will be to drift inside.
ST – Romelu Lukaku
Lukaku has been begging for a chance under Mourinho ever since it emerged that he wouldn’t be loaned away from the club. Lukaku is a good option for the gaffer to go with because he offers an instant outlet, someone for Chelsea to play the ball long to when they manage to break down and see off fast paced Aston Villa attacks.
Who do you think will start? What’s your prediction?
image: © wshjackson