Chelsea and Aston Villa meet for an all-Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge in the EFL Cup third round on Wednesday at 7.45pm (UK time).
The European champions enter the competition for the first time this season fresh from their 3-0 thrashing over London rivals Tottenham at the weekend, while Villa are in a similar state of delirium owing to a 3-0 triumph of their own, battering Everton on home soil.
Chelsea vs Aston Villa live stream:
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Scoreline prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Aston Villa
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Chelsea vs Aston Villa build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Thomas Tuchel continues to enhance his reputation in west London and will no doubt be eyeing up an assault on the Premier League title, but the German is certainly not a manager who takes domestic cup competitions lightly, having reached the FA Cup final last term and famously winning the DFB-Pokal (Germany’s main domestic cup) with Borussia Dortmund in 2017.
Villa will no doubt harbour aspirations of pushing for the European places in the Premier League this season, but a cup run will certainly not be sniffed at by a club who have not won major silverware since 1996, which incidentally came in this competition as Brian Little’s side beat Leeds 3-0 in the final. Dean Smith could have asked for an easier draw, but he will be relishing the trip to the capital nonetheless.
- Chelsea (vs Tottenham): Kepa; Christensen, Silva, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso; Havertz, Mount, Lukaku.
- Aston Villa (vs Everton): Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Tuanzebe, Mings, Targett; Ramsey, Luiz, McGinn; Ings, Watkins.
Tuchel has already revealed that Edouard Mendy may not be fit to face Manchester City this weekend so will almost certainly sit this contest out. “It’s a race against the pain and time. We hope he trains on Thursday so he can be back for Saturday,” Tuchel said recently.
Christian Pulisic is also likely to miss this match, while Villa have a growing casualty list following their win over Everton. The triumph was somewhat marred by Leon Bailey, John McGinn, Matt Targett and Matty Cash all going off with injuries, and that quartet are expected to join Trezeguet and Keinan Davis on the sidelines here.
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Ferdinand: Rudiger has been the best centre-back in the Premier League
Following his finish against Tottenham which put the gloss on Chelsea’s 3-0 win and kept the Blues atop the Premier League table, Rio Ferdinand was quick to express his admiration for Antonio Rudiger, whom he believes has been the best centre-back in the division since Tuchel took over at the Bridge.
Ferdinand said: “Since Tuchel has come I think he’s arguably been the best centre-back. I think him and Dias would have been close but the effect he has had on his team has been immense.
“Under Frank [Lampard], it was evident he wasn’t Frank’s cup of tea. He didn’t really like him. There were rumours they were trying to put him in the market to be sold.
“In Germany, he’s always been highly thought of. But when the manager doesn’t rate you and you can feel that, I don’t care who you are your confidence takes a beating and it’s hard to perform at that level.”
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