Paul Merson says 'unbelievable' attacker could help Chelsea avoid slip-up vs Aston Villa

Paul Merson believes Chelsea should be concerned about their inability to put the game to bed at times despite their solid defensive record ahead of Sunday’s trip to Aston Villa.

The Blues currently sit third in the Premier League, one point above top-four rivals; Liverpool and Leicester City.

For Chelsea, it is quite simple. Their top-four fate is in their own hands and all they need is a win at Villa Park.

Merson believes Thomas Tuchel’s men should have the quality to finish the job. But he also thinks that it would be a slippery 90-minute game for the visitors because of their attacking issues.

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RONALDO NEEDS TO STOP WHINING.

“I think Chelsea have got the hardest game and this is the banana skin,” the former England international told Sky Sports.

“Chelsea did play very well in midweek, they smothered Leicester, but they do not blow anybody away.

“In the end, when Kelechi Iheanacho scored, Chelsea’s season was in danger of going up in flames.

“That is Chelsea’s problem – they can play amazingly against Villa, but they will not blow them away.

“And the longer the game goes and Chelsea are only winning 1-0, all you need is a bit of magic from someone and then all of a sudden it is 1-1, and you are out of the Champions League.

“When you are not blowing teams away, panic can set in, and this is a dangerous game.

“Although I do think Chelsea will win as they have got quality players, and the way Mason Mount is playing is unbelievable.”

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Chronicle view

Merson actually made a fair point there.

Chelsea have won 11 out of 18 Premier League games since Tuchel took over. Out of those 11 wins, they managed to win by more than a one-goal deficit in just five of them.

The introduction of the 3-4-3 system by Tuchel certainly helped significantly improve their defensive record, but it has not solve a lot of issues at the other end of the pitch.

Chelsea have rarely had any problem in defending a lead. According to Transfermarkt data, they have won 19 out of 23 games in which they scored the opening goal.

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But on Sunday, they will be under immense pressure to secure the top-four spot, and, as Merson pointed out, panic can set in.

He also highlighted Mount’s performances this season and the 22-year-old might prove crucial at the weekend.

Despite his young age, Mount has arguably been the most consistent Chelsea attacker this season, and he seems to be able to handle the pressure better than most players his age.

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A Chelsea fan who loves football statistics. Studied sports journalism at the University of Sunderland.