Premier League Preview: Aston Villa v Chelsea
By Football News
Chelsea's often-criticised strikeforce may be licking their lips ahead of a Premier League visit to Aston Villa on Saturday.
Much has been made of Chelsea's lack of a prolific goalscorer this season, but Jose Mourinho's men have still been able to open up a seven-point lead at the top of the table.
Andre Schurrle bagged a hat-trick in a 3-1 win at Fulham earlier this month, while strikers Demba Ba and Samuel Eto'o were among those on target in a convincing 4-0 triumph over Tottenham on Saturday.
History suggests another big day could be on the cards for Chelsea's attackers, with the team having scored 30 goals in their last nine encounters against Villa in all competitions.
They embarrassed Villa 8-0 at Stamford Bridge in December 2012 and Frank Lampard scored four in a 7-1 drubbing at the same ground in March 2010.
Despite Chelsea's healthy lead at the summit of the Premier League, goalkeeper Petr Cech insists the squad are not getting carried away.
"We are going game by game, we keep saying that," Cech told Chelsea's official website.
"There's plenty of football to be played but we are in the position where we would like to finish the season. We are in a good position."
Cech – a key figure in all three of Chelsea's previous title successes in the Premier League era – has enjoyed a fine season to date. Chelsea have conceded just 22 goals in 29 matches, a league low.
Mourinho's men, who are unbeaten in 14 league fixtures, recorded a 2-1 triumph over Villa earlier this season, thanks to Branislav Ivanovic's second-half winner.
Paul Lambert's side will enter the game fresher, having not played in just under a fortnight after last week's trip to Manchester City was postponed due to the latter's involvement in the FA Cup.
Villa ended a four-match winless streak with a 4-1 home success against Norwich City in their previous fixture, Christian Benteke scoring twice.
The Midlands club occupy 11th position but Lambert will still be wary of being dragged into a relegation dogfight, with Cardiff City, who sit 18th, only six points behind.
Ryan Bertrand will be ineligible for Villa, under the terms of his loan deal from Chelsea, and the hosts will also be without long-term absentees Libor Kozak (broken leg), Charles N'Zogbia (Achilles) and Jores Okore (knee).
Ashley Cole is set to return for Chelsea after missing the Spurs win with a knee injury but Fernando Torres (muscle injury) and David Luiz (groin) are doubtful.