Aston Villa boss says non-regular Chelsea players will have something to prove on Wednesday
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith said he expects to face a rotated, but motivated Chelsea side in the Carabao Cup clash at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
In his pre-match press conference, Thomas Tuchel himself has hinted at some potential team changes to give “important minutes” to those players who haven’t been involved much this season.
Not to mention that the German would likely have the upcoming Premier League fixture against Manchester City in mind when making his team decision as well.
While Smith expected team rotation from Tuchel, he pointed out that a club like Chelsea always aim to win any competition they compete in.
“In terms of personnel, but not in terms of the way they play and the way they approach games,” Smith responded when asked whether he expected to face a different Chelsea side (via Villa’s official website).
“They’re a football club that wants to win things.
“Although the Carabao Cup won’t be at the top of their list, it will certainly be on the list because it’s a competition they’re in.
“But we’ve got a proud history as well and we’re looking forward to testing ourselves against Chelsea again.”
Smith, however, insisted that playing against a rotated Chelsea team would not necessarily make their task easier. He believes even Chelsea’s non-regulars will have something to play for.
“Our approach will be similar, and I think Chelsea’s will,” he explained.
“They’ve got a very deep squad of players as well, and they’ll be looking to take the eye of Thomas [Tuchel].
“With their Champions League victory last season, people want to get into the team and want to show what they can do.”
Tuchel already mentioned a few players that might feature against Villa; including Timo Werner and Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Werner has not made any start for Chelsea since Romelu Lukaku’s arrival in August, but Tuchel often spoke about potentially playing him alongside the Belgium international as a strike pairing.
There are several other players that would also want to make a point, such as Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech, and perhaps Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Chilwell, in particular, fell behind in the pecking order due to Marcos Alonso’s brilliant start to the season and has yet to have the chance to reclaim his spot. This game could present that opportunity.