Three potential match winners for Chelsea on Saturday - including Hazard and Willian

Chelsea are in real need of three points this weekend and have three good matchups which could prove decisive versus Aston Villa.

Chelsea face an important 3pm kick-off on Saturday as they host struggling Aston Villa in their ninth match of the 2015-16 Premier League season.

This match virtually represents the quarter mark of the season, and Jose Mourinho's side start the weekend a massive 10 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City.

With the Citizens at home to newly-promoted Bournemouth and widely expected to win, the defending champions cannot afford any slip ups.

Chelsea have won only two of their first eight matches this season, in what has been a shocking start from Mourinho's side. If there's one fixture they should be confident of picking up a comfortable victory, it's this one.

Aston Villa have taken just one point since the opening game of the season and head into Saturday's match on a four-game losing streak. Tim Sherwood's side have lost more games than any other side and are in the bottom three.

With players safely back from international duty this past week, here are three Chelsea players who could prove to be the match winner on Saturday:

Eden Hazard

It has been a slow start to the season for last year's PFA Player of the Season, but Eden Hazard will have a good match up this weekend regardless of who lines up at right-back for the visitors.

Alan Hutton has started the past few games there and can be expected to be named in Tim Sherwood's starting line-up. The Scotland international is coming back from a disappointing Euro 2016 qualifying attempt and did play the full 180 minutes in their two matches this month.

The Villa right-back is not the best of tacklers so watch out for Hazard to either dribble past Hutton or win free kicks in dangerous positions against him. Alternatively, Leandro Bacuna has played right-back this season, and arguably he's even worse at dealing with opposition wingers running at him.

39% of Chelsea's attacks have been down their left this season - it's an area of the field they like to focus on and could be more important than usual this weekend in an effort to exploit their opponents' weaknesses.

Diego Costa

Chelsea's main striker returns from a three-game suspension, and it has been noticeable how badly Diego Costa's absence has been felt.

Neither Loic Remy nor Radamel Falcao offered much threat in front of goal in the two Premier League games the Spanish international was forced to watch from the stands.

Costa was a real threat last season and despite both a quiet end to 2014-15 and start to the new season, this could be the match he starts to find his form. With playmakers around him, the striker should find space between Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott at the back.


Scorer of two goals for his national team on Tuesday night, the biggest question will be whether Willian is fresh enough to start this weekend's match.

Oscar also started Brazil's 3-1 win over Venezuela so it's possible that Cesc Fabregas is pushed into the number 10 role.

Should Willian start, he's been Chelsea's best player to start the new season and is their only player to have scored more than one Premier League goal so far.

Aston Villa like to pack their midfield to limit what opposition central midfielders can do, but Willian, Fabregas and with Hazard cutting inside, there will be a lot of bodies to defend. Jordan Veretout hasn't been the best at stopping runners this season, so could be the weak point in Villa's midfield three.

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