The Blues won only once in the whole of March, and haven’t won in their last four matches, losing to Paris Saint-Germain and Everton—two defeats that saw the Pensioners’ hopes of ending the year with silverware extinguished—and drew with Stoke City and West Ham United.
While they have been unconvincing in attack and less than stellar in defence, Guus Hiddink’s side should fancy their chances of seeing off Villa.
The Birmingham heavyweights are 12 points off safety with seven matches still to play, and having recently parted ways with coach Remi Garde, they appear—more so than ever before—to be destined for relegation.
Predicted Chelsea XI
Chelsea will likely opt for Loic Remy to lead the line, with Diego Costa out for the second game of his three-match suspension.
With Eden Hazard injured and both Willian and Oscar doubtful [as per The Guardian], expect Hiddink to turn to youngsters Kenedy and Ruben Loftus-Cheek alongside Pedro in an attacking three behind a lone frontman.
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John Obi Mikel, back from Africa Cup of Nations qualification failure with Nigeria, will partner Cesc Fabregas in the heart of the midfield, while the Blues will call on arguably their first-choice defence of Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, John Terry, Cesar Azpilicueta and Thibaut Courtois.
Kurt Zouma remains a long-term absentee from the heart of the defence, while Abdul Rahman Baba will have to content himself with a spot on the bench.