class=”article_teaser__2t5do”>Having looked less stable at the back recently, Al Hain-Cole thinks the Blues will have to fight hard for victory against Smith's confident team
Chelsea will be aiming to secure their place in the Premier League’s top four when they travel to Villa Park to take on Aston Villa on Sunday.
Thomas Tuchel’s men are a point ahead of both Liverpool and Leicester in third place, meaning anything less than victory could see them drop out of the Champions League places on the final day.
Aston Villa vs Chelsea Latest Odds
Having won seven and lost none of the last eight games against this opposition, they are 9/20 (1.45) favourites with bet365 to make sure of third place by coming out on top here.
The Villans can finish no higher or lower than 11th place but are available at 11/2 (6.50) to give their returning fans a memorable send off to a successful season by pulling off a shock win.
These sides shared a 1-1 draw in December’s reverse encounter at Stamford Bridge, and you can get odds of 15/4 (4.75) on them cancelling each other out once again.
Aston Villa vs Chelsea Team News
Matthew Cash, Morgan Sanson and Trezeguet are all ruled out due to injury, while Ross Barkley is ineligible to face his parent club.
N’Golo Kante is a doubt after being forced off in Tuesday’s win over Leicester with a minor injury, although Kai Havertz should return from the hamstring injury that he picked up in last weekend’s FA Cup final defeat.
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Aston Villa vs Chelsea Preview
Having scuppered Tottenham’s European qualification bid with a 2-1 away win in midweek, Dean Smith’s team will be looking to do the same against a team that must have one eye on their upcoming Champions League final.
Boosted by the return of fans to the stadium and Jack Grealish’s comeback from a long injury, they will go into this clash in high spirits and optimistic of getting on target for the ninth match in 10.
Indeed, the Blues’ previously watertight defence has now gone four matches without a clean sheet, having kept 18 in the previous 24 fixtures in all competitions.
Aston Villa vs Chelsea Tips and Predictions
Although likely to prove too strong as they push for a crucial three points, odds of 8/5 (2.60) seem generous on Chelsea coming out on top despite seeing goals at both ends for Villa’s ninth match in 10.
All odds correct at time of writing. Please gamble responsibly.