How Chelsea Should Line Up Against Aston Villa
The Blues did the double over Paul Lambert's team in 2012-13, including an 8-0 thrashing on home soil in an incredible fixture.
That December afternoon—just two days before Christmas—threatened to ruin Villa's season as a bad run of form on the back of it saw them dragged back into a relegation battle when it seemed they were finally pulling clear of the bottom three.
Seven different players were on the scoresheet for Chelsea, helping bring to an end Villa's unbeaten run of six matches that included defeating Liverpool at Anfield the week previous.
This time, they arrive in West London on the back of a similarly impressive victory at the Emirates Stadium last week, defeating Arsenal 3-1.
After beating the drop, the Villans seem to have a renewed vigor about them, which their opening-day victory will only have added to. So, as far as the score line goes, we can expect something less one-sided come Wednesday.
Chelsea are looking strong themselves, however, and have more than the Jose Mourinho effect to thank for that.
The Blues have strengthened this summer and have a good blend of youthful and experienced faces their manager can draw from.
Given their first away fixture of the season—against Manchester United no less—comes fresh on the heels of this clash, will Mourinho be tempted to rotate his team in the season's early fixture congestion brought on by Super Cup participation?
It could be a wise move, especially as this time of year most squads are finding their feet after preseason, reaching optimum fitness levels.
The backbone of this team is very much Petr Cech, John Terry and Frank Lampard—but only for now. As the season develops, we can expect that to change slightly, but Mourinho is turning to players he knows can deliver in the early stages.
It's for that reason he should keep Lampard in the lineup, especially as he seems to have a knack for scoring against Villa, netting both goals in the 2-1 win at Villa Park last term that saw him break Bobby Tambling's scoring record.
Elsewhere, the efforts Sunday of Oscar, Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard as the attacking three deserve a mention, but with Juan Mata and Andre Schurrle now edging closer to fitness after niggles, game time against Villa would be beneficial for not only them, but the team.
Here's Bleacher Report's chosen Chelsea lineup for Wednesday's match against Aston Villa:
Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @garryhayes
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