Aston Villa vs Chelsea - Predictions & Betting Odds
- Aston Villa lacked cutting edge last time out but its defense held up well against Sheffield United
- Chelsea returns to Premier League action in a healthy position in the Champions League race
- Frank Lampard’s side should have too much attacking quality for the host this Sunday
|What||Aston Villa vs Chelsea|
|Where||Villa Park, Birmingham, England|
|When||Sunday, 21 June 2020, 11.15 AM EST|
|How to watch||NBC Sports|
Of all the talking points to emerge from the return of the Premier League in midweek, few predicted that a goal-line technology malfunction would dominate. Yet a system error that forced its creators Hawkeye to apologize and launch a defense of its product was the issue that everyone was discussing after Aston Villa’s meeting with Sheffield United.
A drab 0-0 draw did not exactly provide alternative topics of conversation, which only made the mistake seem even more prominent. Television replays clearly showed that Oliver Norwood’s free-kick for Sheffield United had been carried over the line by Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland, who did his best to look as innocent as possible.
Given that no other goals were scored in Wednesday’s match, United had every right to feel aggrieved. Yet Villa was the better team as it hosted the first Premier League match in three months, creating more scoring opportunities and – most pleasingly of all for manager Dean Smith – keeping things tight at the back.
Chelsea has also struggled for clean sheets at times this term, with most of its challengers for a Champions League spot boasting a superior defensive record. Frank Lampard will no doubt have been working on ways to tighten up his team’s rearguard in the last few weeks, but only time will tell whether the issue has been sufficiently resolved in time for the remaining nine games of the campaign.
Aston Villa vs Chelsea Odds
|Chelsea to win and total goals||Odds|
Odds taken from BetMGM.
Chelsea should have too much quality for Villa on Sunday. There is a strong argument that the west London outfit has benefited from the pause in play, despite going unbeaten in its final three matches prior to the three-month hiatus. Key players are now fit again and the side’s prominent youngsters have been afforded a breather in what is, for many, their first season at the elite level of English soccer.
Yet although neither team has been a beacon of defensive resolve this term, it is worth backing under 3.5 goals here. The two sides will tend towards caution – Villa because it is in a precarious position, Chelsea because it has not played a competitive fixture since March – and that will restrict the number of goals.
Chelsea Will Have Been Boosted By Recent Transfer News
Neither Timo Werner nor Hakim Ziyech has arrived at Stamford Bridge just yet, but Chelsea have already wrapped up deals to sign the attacking pair this summer. These are exciting times for Lampard and co., and Chelsea may even be in a position to challenge for the title next term. Although Werner and Ziyech are not yet part of the squad, their future presence within it could provide a boost to Chelsea over the next few weeks.
There is also reason for positivity within the current ranks. Tammy Abraham is fit again and will be keen to return to the sort of goalscoring form he showed in the first half of the season. N’Golo Kante and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are nearing returns, and the likes of Mason Mount and Mateo Kovacic will be fresher than they were in March.
Villa Will Need to Maintain Solidity to Avoid Immediate Return to Championship
The break also served Villa well in that respect, allowing it to get John McGinn back for the run-in. The Scotland international started Wednesday’s clash with Sheffield United, although it was Jack Grealish who was once again his side’s most influential player.
Grealish is a wonderful creator and he will almost certainly join one of England’s biggest clubs this summer if Villa falls through the relegation trapdoor. But Villa is without a proven Premier League striker to lead the line, and that could ultimately seal its fate. The 22-year-old Keinan Davis was handed a rare start against United but, although he used his physicality to good effect against the Blades’ three centre-backs, he spurned one of the game’s best chances with a header.
Villa did at least look more solid than they have for much of the season. It is as yet unclear whether that was an exception or the new norm, but a fifth clean sheet of the campaign was thoroughly welcome.
Chelsea Will Be Rustier Than Villa But Should Still Find a Way to Win
It will be interesting to see if Villa’s additional game on Wednesday serves it well here. Smith’s men will have more match sharpness than their opponents, but ultimately that is unlikely to prove as important as Chelsea’s superior quality.
Lampard will be targeting three points, and the fact that his side will not be operating at full capacity means the Blues may opt to sit on a lead if they establish one, rather than go all-out for further goals.
Take the Under option here – Chelsea will seek to control the game and keep things tight as it seeks victory.