Chelsea face Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge and this is very much the definition of a midtable battle. It’s 10th vs 11th with both teams on equal points. Graham Potter always feels under pressure and every game Chelsea play feels like a must win. Villa have found some good form lately under Unai Emery and can play with freedom and confidence.
This might be a battle for midtable supremacy, but it should be a good game for a bet builder nonetheless. Of course, I’ve sorted a Stats Pack for the evening kick off, and I recommend using the number alongside my Stats Pack Guide to increase your chances of a winning bet builder.
There are some injury doubts for Chelsea including Wesley Fofana, Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling. Veteran centre back Thiago Silva is still a couple of weeks from returning.
Right wing back Reece James had to pull out of England’s fixture vs Ukraine, but has been training throughout the week and confirmed fit for this evening’s clash. Potter seems happy with his 3-4-3 system so that is unlikely to change.
Villa still have Matty Cash and Philippe Coutinho ruled out long term. Midfielders Leander Dendoncker and Boubacar Kamara could be contenders to return from their respective injuries. Douglas Luiz and John McGinn might be difficult to dislodge from their respective positions though right now.
The attacking quartet led by in-form striker Ollie Watkins looks strong as is, and Emery is unlikely to do much in the way of tweaking in that regard.
Chelsea are typically involved in low scoring games. They have averaged just 1.07 goals in each fixture and conceded 1.04. These numbers correlate relatively closely to their xG and xGA metrics. Potter’s men only average 12.04 shots per game although have done well to only concede 11.15 at the other end. The Blues need to improve their 3.89 SOT average which is not really good enough for a team of their quality and stature.
Chelsea fixtures have middling to high numbers for corners. They have obtained 5.59 themselves per match and conceded 4.70. Cards have been on the high side though at an average of 4.26 in each contest. Chelsea have been a fairly dirty team this season and picked up several cards.
Villa average 1.30 goals per game which is the exact same as their xG metric. Their xGA is 1.51 and their defence cannot usually be relied upon as much. That said, they only concede 11.67 shots per game and less than 4 SOT on average. They have not been the most free shooting team but things have definitely improved offensively since Unai Emery took over.
Cards have been quite high in Villa fixtures and overall, their games have contained 4.02 cards on average. It is noticeable the few corners they’ve obtained (4 per game) compared to how many they’ve conceded (5.67). This can be accredited to the relatively narrow formations which both managers have employed this season, especially in the case of Steven Gerrard in the first half of the campaign.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Joao Felix averages over four shots per 90 mins and has certainly been trying his luck since joining Chelsea. His SOT ratio of 1.74 is strong. Kai Havertz is more selective with his shooting (2.37) but still generally hits the target once per game overall.
Only two other players on this list average more than one shot per 90 mins, with one of them being right back Reece James (1.24). It can’t be understated just how important the wing backs are to Chelsea’s success, and Ben Chilwell’s recent good form could see him as a decent outside shout for 1+ shot.
Ollie Watkins has been in great form but surprisingly only averages 2.39 shots per 90. More than half of them have been on target though and he’s had great accuracy.
Both Leon Bailey and Emi Buendia also average around 2 shots per 90 mins but are nowhere near as efficient with their SOTs. Both McGinn and Douglas Luiz are usually good to try at least one shot per match on average.
Player Goals and Assists
Chelsea have certainly lacked goals this season. Kai Havertz has been in better form recently though and leads their charts netting seven times.
Chilwell has two goals and two assists, but he’s also missed a lot of matches due to injury this season. He scored recently vs Leicester. The Blues might overload the wide areas here so Reece James could also be a candidate to score or assist.
Ollie Watkins leads the Villa scoring charts with 9 goals and he’s also weighed in with 5 assists. The trio of Buendia, Bailey and Luiz have all contributed in this department as well, the key is catching one of them on a good day. Watkins is by far the most reliable option thanks to his dual threat and also excellent form.
Chelsea average close to 60% possession and are expected to have a large proportion of the ball here. Key midfielder Enzo Fernandez is the most likely to rack up numbers. He averages close to 90 passes per 90 mins and is at the heart of the Chelsea engine.
Centre back Kalidou Koulibaly averages over 70 passes per 90 mins and he along with Kovacic could be candidates to be strongly involved.
Villa average 49% possession but probably won’t have as much of the ball in this match away from home. A likely possession amount for them here would be something in between the 40-45% mark.
The three players most likely to rack up the passes are centre back Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa, along with Douglas Luiz. They all average around 50 passes per 90 mins, with Konza and Mings especially likely to last the full match.
Senegalese centre back Kalidou Koulibaly has racked up 8 cards and averages 1.30 fouls per 90 mins. He is the enforcer of the back three and will not hesitate to get rough and tough if needed. It’s the same in midfield with Kovacic who will have to engage Villa in that area of the park.
It is noticeable the high foul rate that Kai Havertz has (2.32), and he will press from the front, often giving away some cheap free kicks.
John McGinn is a canny operator and is fouled roughly twice per 90 mins. He is the sort of player who winds up the opposition and is often the beneficiary of some retaliation action on him. He, along with Douglas Luiz in midfield are going to be key targets for Chelsea.
Ezri Konsa is surprisingly fouled 1.62 times per 90 mins which feels quite high for a centre back, He may be able to win some cheap free kicks against an overzealous Kai Havertz. Buendia is probably the most skillful and elusive Villa player, and must be watched carefully by Chelsea.
Match-Ups to watch
Kalidou Koulibaly vs Emi Buendia
Kai Havertz vs Ezri Konsa
Mateo Kovacic vs John McGinn
Aston Villa Cards
Argentinian World Cup winner Emi Martinez is a man renowned for time wasting. He’s picked up 5 cards this season either for time wasting or dissent which is something to look out for.
Midfield duo Douglas Luiz and John McGinn will get stuck in and are probably the main candidates to pick up a card for the visitors.
There is absolutely no doubt that both fullbacks Alex Moreno and Ashley Young will be strongly tested by the Chelsea wide men. Moreno averages close to a couple of fouls per 90 mins whilst the veteran, Young, averages roughly one foul.
Joao Felix has all sorts of tricks up his sleeve and it’s no surprise to see him get fouled several times per 90 mins. He is a matchup nightmare and could pop up anywhere in the front three positions.
Argentinian World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez has been running the show for Chelsea recently and Villa are going to have to do a job on him. The Villa fullbacks are going to be overloaded with the likes of Chilwell, James and also potentially Mudryk as well.
Match-Ups to watch
Douglas Luiz vs Joao Felix
John McGinn vs Enzo Fernandez
Alex Moreno vs Reece James
My bet Builder Picks of the pack
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