Chelsea vs Aston VillaEnglish Premier League, KO: 14:00 Sep 24, 2023, Stamford Bridge
THE idea that Mauricio Pochettino would wave a magic wand and make all of Chelsea's problems disappear has been well and truly dispelled after a poor start to the Premier League campaign.
And the former Spurs boss will have to start delivering some results soon, starting with the visit of Aston Villa, if supporters are to keep faith with his Stamford Bridge revolution.
The general consensus was things could only get better for Chelsea after a nightmare campaign that saw them go through three managers and finish a lowly 12th in the table, just 10 points clear of the drop zone.
But the malaise has continued into the new season and the Blues finished last weekend sitting 14th in the Premier League after a dreary stalemate with Bournemouth that brought up a bet for our man Mark.
The only team they have beaten so far are promoted Luton Town, with that 3-0 victory bringing up a full house of tips for me. And it's incredible how far away Chelsea seem to be from the finished product given over a billion pounds has been spent since Todd Boehly took charge.
Injuries haven't helped Pochettino's cause but a summer fire sale of academy products to get round financial fair play rules looks to have robbed Chelsea of their identity.
Aston Villa's start to the season suggests they pile on the pain for Pochettino, with Unai Emery's men winning three of their five games so far.
It will be interesting to see how Villa cope with juggling European and domestic football this term and this clash comes off the back of a Thursday night trip to Poland to face Legia Warsaw.
But Emery looks to have a big enough squad to cope with the demands and if his side hit top form at Stamford Bridge it wouldn't be a surprise if they racked up another three points.
How the bookies view it
I'm surprised to see Chelsea as odds-on favourites for this one after their terrible start to the season and the best price for a Blues win is just 19/20 at SpreadEx. Aston Villa look overpriced at 3/1 with Bet365 while the draw pays the same price at BetUK.
Recent head to head
There hasn't been much between these sides in recent years, with the last seven meetings producing two Aston Villa victories, three Chelsea wins and two draws. Home advantage counted for little last term, with Chelsea winning 2-0 in the Midlands then Villa coming out on top by the same score at Stamford Bridge.
Players to watch
One of the few rays of light for Chelsea this season has been the resurgence of Raheem Sterling. I cashed in by backing him to score against Luton and the winger is 19/10 at William Hill for another goal here.
Moussa Diaby has settled in quickly at Aston Villa since his summer move from Leverkusen and looks like a great signing. The French winger has two Premier League goals already and is 10/3 at Bet365 to add another. He's also 19/20 at Unibet just to have a shot on target and that looks worth a punt.
Anything else catch the eye?
All of Aston Villa's games have been thrillers so far in the Premier League, with over 2.5 goals landing in all five and BTTS coming up in three of those matches. But Chelsea have drawn a blank in their last two so it's hard to predict what will happen here. I'm going to have a punt on under 2.5 goals at 6/5 with Paddy Power as there could be a Euro hangover for Emery's side while betting against BTTS pays 11/8 at BetVictor.
Chelsea haven't been scoring of late but they're still racking up plenty of corners, with 25 across their last three outings. Over 10 match corners looks good here at 11/10 with Bet365 while Chelsea -2 in the corner handicap is the same odds at Unibet.
This English Premier League match between Chelsea and Aston Villa will be played on Sep 24, 2023 and kick off at 14:00. Check below for our tipsters best Chelsea vs Aston Villa prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.