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Chelsea have two undroppables vs Aston Villa as Potter sends Real Madrid message

Chelsea have two undroppables vs Aston Villa as Potter sends Real Madrid message

Graham Potter, the manager of Chelsea, needs to prove himself to the loyal fans of Stamford Bridge if he wants to gain their support. Although he is entering the final stretch of the season with a match against Aston Villa on Saturday, he cannot afford to let his guard down, despite the current position of his team in the league table.

Chelsea currently sits in the 10th position in the league, and they are on track to record their worst goalscoring season since the inception of the Premier League. Potter has not been able to impress the fans who are used to watching charismatic and successful managers. The team’s results have not helped his cause either.

There is hope that the worst is behind them, and Chelsea can begin to show some positivity. Despite a three-game winning streak, which included two victories against teams facing relegation, the draw with Everton halted the cautious optimism.

The outcome of the match against Villa is unlikely to have a significant impact on the overall situation. Even if Chelsea win, it’s highly unlikely that they will finish anywhere close to the top four, and they may even end up in the bottom half of the table. The primary focus for Chelsea is the upcoming Champions League games against Real Madrid, with domestic matches serving as preparation.

If Brighton can demonstrate their competitiveness in the upcoming matches and possibly show signs of challenging the more advanced teams in their draw, there is still hope for them to achieve success in the European competition. This tournament has historically been instrumental in determining the fate of Chelsea’s managers over the past 19 years.

Todd Boehly and his team may not be easily influenced by the outcome of two matches against the most successful team in the history of the Champions League. However, the feelings of the supporters are crucial, and if they are disappointed, it could have negative consequences. 

Last season, Thomas Tuchel was eliminated at this stage and struggled until the summer, and although Graham Potter’s situation is different, Chelsea’s season practically ended at the same point last year. 

Therefore, the game against Aston Villa may not be significant in the broader context of the season for Chelsea, but it could be beneficial for them to gain some confidence before their European campaign. The following are some ways they could achieve this.

Beware the counter-attack

Aston Villa’s attacking strategy of quick counter-attacks has been causing chaos in recent weeks. This style of play is particularly effective for them in away games, where the home team is expected to dominate possession. Under Unai Emery’s leadership, Villa has only lost twice in their six away league games, with one draw. 

They have also kept three clean sheets and effectively utilized the speed of Ollie Watkins and Leon Bailey. Emery’s pragmatic approach, as demonstrated in his time at Villarreal, has the potential to yield surprising results.

Watkins’ goal against Arsenal in February exemplified Villa’s direct approach when in possession. Watkins has scored seven of his nine goals this season under Emery and has provided three assists during that period. Chelsea’s potential injury concerns with Reece James, Wesley Fofana, and N’Golo Kante’s fitness could make it challenging for them to keep up with Villa’s pace.

Go for goal

Chelsea’s problem is not scoring enough despite their recent games against Everton and Leicester where they scored a total of five goals. However, this issue persists because they struggle to execute the final pass, make poor decisions, or shoot too close to the opposing keeper. Aston Villa’s Emi Martinez is one of the league’s best keepers, except for the top four teams, and will present a tough challenge for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, despite his involvement in both of Chelsea’s goals in the previous match.

Kai Havertz has been in good form, scoring three goals in three games, but his availability for the match depends on his recovery from illness. Havertz’s performance will be crucial for Chelsea to get a favorable result. Havertz has played well with Joao Felix recently, and the partnership between the two shows potential. If they can improve their finishing, it will be a significant advantage for Chelsea to defeat a resilient Aston Villa side.

Be careful!

The top priority for the season is a trip to Madrid, followed by the return leg a week later. If Chelsea can ensure that James, Fofana, and Kante are fully fit and integrated into the team alongside Sterling, Mount, and Thiago Silva (when he returns), their team will undergo a significant transformation. However, the worst-case scenario would be losing players to injury before the game. James, Fofana, Sterling, and Mount were given some time off from competitive football and hopefully used it to improve their match sharpness for the Champions League.

Potter should adopt a cautious approach if there are any doubts about a player’s fitness. It’s better to err on the side of caution rather than risk injury, especially given the game’s proximity to the international break. Resting some key players against Villa and fielding a weaker XI is a risk worth taking to ensure the team’s fitness and availability for selection against Ancelotti’s experienced and successful team.

Chelsea have two undroppables vs Aston Villa as Potter sends Real Madrid message

Chelsea have two undroppables vs Aston Villa as Potter sends Real Madrid message

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