Another Thriller With Villa?

Chelsea will be looking to continue where they left off after their 5-0 win at Portsmouth, by putting Aston Villa to the sword this weekend at Stamford Bridge.

It will be a true test of whether the Blues have pushed through their recent form slump. Unfortunately though, Ricardo Carvalho has been ruled out for four weeks through injury, so he joins Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Ashley Cole and Essien on the sidelines.

Alex and Paulo Ferreira and Yuri Zhirkov are suddenly very important components of the Chelsea defence.

Villa have James Milner, Richard Dunne, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Emile Heskey in doubt with injuries and it remains to be seen whether Martin O’Neill risks them for this match.

Chelsea are one point off the top of the table going into this match, with a goal difference (+47) identical to that of table toppers Manchester United. Arsenal are a point behind the Blues in third.

Villa are level with Liverpool, but only four points off fourth position in the league and scrapping with Tottenham, Manchester City and even Everton for that coveted spot.

Chelsea were stunned by Villa in the reverse fixture this season, going down 2-1. Drogba gave Chelsea the lead, but goals from Richard Dunne and James Collins turned the match around.

In the corresponding fixture last season, Chelsea won 2-0 with first half goals from Joe Cole and Nicolas Anelka. Funnily enough, these two teams will clash in the FA Cup semi final, whilst Tottenham and Portsmouth, who will play the other semi final, also clash this week in the league.

Ladbrokes are offering a short 2/5 for the Chelsea win, a reasonably long 7/2 for the draw and a slightly tempting 7/1 for the Villa win.