Saturday, 4 October 2008

Chelsea v Villa Premiership Preview: Striker Crisis For Blues With Drogba Out & Anelka Struggling

Chelsea take on Martin O’Neill’s Aston Villa in their Premier League match at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Blues manager Luiz Felipe Scolari will be hoping his table-topping Chelsea side can defend their top-flight unbeaten record at home, which stretches back some four and a half years. Chelsea will be full of confidence after a start in the Premiership that sees them unbeaten and winning last week against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.

The Villans go into this tricky away game just a point behind Chelsea and in 3rd place in the Premier League, with the Midlands side coming in to this clash full of confidence after three straight wins in the Premier League over Tottenham Hotspur, West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland.

Scolari is unable to call on Portuguese pair Deco (thigh) and Ricardo Carvalho (knee) along with long-term injury Michael Essien (ACL knee), while Ivory Coast International Didier Drogba picked up a knee injury in the Champions League clash with CFR Cluj. Which should see Nicolas Anelka start in his place if he shakes off his own minor injury in time. Captain John Terry (back), Alex (thigh) and Ashley Cole (back) are all still doubtful as well, but could feature.

Aston Villa’s Chelsea summer signing Steve Sidwell could feature after resuming full training this week, but is unlikely to be risked against his former club, while Wilfred Bouma (ankle) is still unavailable for Villa. John Carew and Gabriel Agbonlahor look set to continue their partnership upfront.

Chelsea: (from) Cech, Ivanovic, A Cole, Lampard, Di Santo, J Cole, Mikel, Ballack, Malouda, Sinclair, Bosingwa, Bridge, Ferreira, Kalou, Terry, Cudicini, Mineiro, Belletti, Anelka, Hilario, Alex

Aston Villa: (from) Friedel, L Young, Sidwell, Laursen, Barry, A Young, Milner, Harewood, Carew, Agbonlahor, Taylor, Delfouneso, Davies, Knight, Salfou. Routledge, petrov, Reo-Coker, Shorey, Guzan, Gardner, Osbourne, O’Halloran, Stieber

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