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Aston Villa have an almost full-strength team for this match, with only Gabby Agbonlahor and long-term absentee Fabian Delph missing. They are boosted by Emile Heskey, Ashley Young and Marc Albrighton passing late fitness tests on Friday morning.
Brad Friedel will start in goal behind a likely defence of Luke Young, Stephen Warnock, James Collins and Richard Dunne, although Carlos Cuellar may possibly replace the out-of-form Richard Dunne. Personally, I'd prefer to see Cuellar start as his excellent reading of the game could prove crucial in an attempt to counter the pace of Nicholas Anelka. Cuellar has been excellent in his few starts so far this season. Richard Dune provides more of a physical presence, but in the absence of Drogba, this is less crucial for the match.
Houllier is likely to set up with a midfield pair of Stiliyan Petrov and Nigel Reo-Coker, with Stewart Downing and Marc Albrighton on the wings. Emile Heskey will start up front having been passed as fit, with Ashley Young lurking just behind him.
However, I personally feel that Marc Albrighton may struggle against Ashley Cole, who is undoubtedly one of the best left backs in world football. He loves to run and go past players, although whether he is good enough against a player of Cole's quality is debatable.
The other issue could be Chelsea's midfield trio overrunning Petrov and Reo-Coker in the centre of the pitch, particularly as the game progresses. This would give them a solid base in the centre to break up Villa's play and set up their own attacks.
Instead, I would rather see a midfield trio of Petrov, Reo-Coker and Stephen Ireland, with Ashley Young and Stewart Downing on the wings. With Petrov and Reo-Coker playing in a slightly deeper role, they would be able to match up to Ramires and Essien man-to-man, whilst Stephen Ireland would play in a more advanced role, supporting Emile Heskey, whilst also playing and marking Jon Obi Mikel when he has the ball for Chelsea.
Mikel has become a key part of making Chelsea tick - indeed, he has made more successful passes than any other player in the Premiership this season - and by not allowing him the time to play, it will help disrupt the Chelsea build-up.
On the wings, Ashley Young and Stewart Downing have plenty of experience, and they tend to repeatedly swap wings during the game. I feel that it would also be beneficial for Downing to spend more time on the right wing, up against Ashley Cole, since he looks to get the ball into the box early, rather than trying to pass to the full back.
On the other flank, Ashley Young is Villa's key player, and he may enjoy playing against the slightly weaker Paulo Ferreira.
Emile Heskey has been a player reborn since Gerard Houllier arrived at the club, and he will look to continue his excellent form. However, he will be in a real battle against Ivanovic and Terry, although if he plays as he has done in recent weeks, he could bully the two of them, leaving space for Young, Downing and Ireland to make the most of their opportunities.