Sunday afternoon sees a match with implications at both ends of the table as relegation battlers Aston Villa host Champions League qualification-chasers Chelsea.
Frank Lampard lost out to Dean Smith’s Aston Villa whilst in charge of Derby County in last season’s play-off final, but his Chelsea side came away with a relatively routine 2-1 win in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge earlier this season.
For Chelsea, Mateo Kovacic, Christian Pulisic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek should all be available, having been sidelined when the season was suspended three months ago, but key midfielder N’Golo Kante is potentially a doubt, having reportedly sat out training due to health fears amid coronavirus.
With Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner set to arrive in the summer and bolster Lampard’s Blues squad, he’ll be keen to deliver Champions League football. Chelsea are currently three points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United and will hope to consolidate that position here.
Aston Villa, meanwhile, have spent the three months off suspended at second-bottom of the table and their run-in ought to be a battle against relegation. With their game in hand against Sheffield United out of the way in midweek, they’ll have a slight head start in terms of match rhythm on their opponents.
Coach Smith will be hoping that the time off has stunted any sense of their downward trajectory back in March, with four straight league defeats alongside the loss to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final.
Key midfielder John McGinn’s return for Villa is a big boost, while talisman Jack Grealish (top scorer and assister with seven and six respectively) will continue to be paramount to their survival hopes.
We recommend backing Chelsea to get the win here, available at just 8/15. But with only six clean sheets kept all season, you can boost those odds by also backing both teams to score with the away win at 2/1.
*All prices correct at the time of writing and subject to change