Carlo Ancelotti announced today that he will be without six of his first team players tomorrow. Heading into Villa Park, Chelsea will be without Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou, Alex, Daniel Sturridge, and Yossi Benayoun. However, it is not all bad, as John Terry has been cleared to play.
Chelsea is fortunate that they have plenty of depth to cover their losses. Anelka is more than capable of filling the scoring void left by the ever dangerous striker Drogba and the youngster Ramires will be looking to make a name for himself in the midfield.
Ancelotti has announced that Chelsea will be starting with Cech in goal, Ferreria, Ivanovich, Terry, and A. Cole across the back, Ramires, Essien and Mikel holding down the midfield, and Kakuta, Malouda, and Anelka up top.
This squad is by no means weak. However, they are facing a Villa side that are well rested and chomping at the bit. The home side has some injury woes of their own with strikers Agbonlahor out and Heskey doubtful with a knock he picked up on international duty. The midfield will have to step up and lead the attack if Villa are going to win the game.
Sitting in 8th place in the table, they could make a serious move with a three points on Saturday. Villa has not lost a game at home in the Premier League this season. They are a strong side who feed off the energy of the home crowd.
Chelsea lost their only game away from home against a top half of the table opponent in Manchester City. Villa does not have the same type of talent as City, but they are a formidable side. Chelsea did not look comfortable in their loss to City even when they had the services of Lampard, Kalou and Drogba.
Chelsea has yet to prove that they are road warriors. However, getting three points at Villa Park with a weakened squad would go a long way in proving Chelsea's road capabilities.
This will not be the type of game that everyone is predicting. Chelsea will struggle to find the back of the net as the Aston Villa midfield and defense will put up a fight. This may be a defensive battle as Villa's attack is also weakened, but don't be surprised if the likes of Albrighton or John Carew sneak one by Cech to solidify three points for the home team.