Chelsea manager Frank Lampard will likely to field the same team he used against Everton for the Premier League clash against Aston Villa on Saturday.
It may be obvious that Lampard doesn’t have to change a winning formula from the dominant 4-0 win last week, but Chelsea’s injury list doesn’t give the manager many options either, especially in the midfield.
According to the club’s official website, Mateo Kovacic will be checked on following his Achilles injury. Ruben Loftus-Cheek took part in an in-house match but is still regaining match fitness.
N’Golo Kante will almost certainly miss the game due to an ankle injury, while Jorginho will miss the second game of a two-match suspension.
It leaves Lampard with Reece James, who is predominantly a right wing-back as back-up to Billy Gilmour, Mason Mount (who had a knock that apparently wasn’t as serious as feared) and Barkley in midfield, just as he did against Everton.
On the attacking side, Callum Hudson-Odoi, who had a setback from his recovery, will have to be on the sidelines once again. Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic are doubtful to make the squad as both players still lack match fitness.
Andreas Christensen, who was on the bench last week, could feature in the starting line-up to replace Kurt Zouma. Despite back-to-back clean-sheets, the Anthony Rudiger and Zouma pairing had moments where they looked shaky and uncomfortable on the ball.
Lampard will give further updates on the injuries on Friday’s pre-match press conference.
Aston Villa’s weaknesses Frank Lampard’s men can exploit
Villa have the worst defensive record in the Premier League this season, with 56 goals conceded so far (the highest in the league). It has partly been due to their frailties in defending set-pieces and counterattacks.
Villa have conceded 14 goals from set-pieces and seven goals from counterattacks, both are currently the highest in the league.
Dean Smith’s side have also lost their last six consecutive games, defeated 4-0 in their last match against Leicester City.