Aston Villa v Chelsea - Another close one on the cards.

Tomorrow in the early evening kick off, Chelsea travel to Villa Park to face an Aston Villa side looking to continue to impress new boss G...

Wembley Aston Villa v Chelsea (0-3) FA Cup Semi-Final 10/04/10 Ashley Young (Aston Villa) John Obi Mikel (Chelsea) Photo Roger Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

Tomorrow in the early evening kick off, Chelsea travel to Villa Park to face an Aston Villa side looking to continue to impress new boss Gerard Houllier. With Chelsea winning just once in 10 games there and losing 2-1 last season, it's never an easy place to go for us.

Forget the cup semi final and the win at the Bridge towards the end of last season, this is going to be a difficult game for the Chels tomorrow as we have found out today that we are without Didier Drogba, Alex and Frank Lampard. Thank god John Terry is passed fit and will play and Captain the side.

Aston Villa look as though they are waiting on news of Emile Heskey before they decide upon their starting eleven. If he fails to make it John Carew will start. Villa have Agbonlahor out which is a bonus for us but have no other real injury concerns.

I have no doubt in my mind this will be decided by a single goal or even a scoreless draw. With JT next to Ivanovic and Paulo and Ash at full back's we are ok for the game. Paulo like Ash will look to get forward at every opportunity. Branna next to JT is important for us as no matter who we face, whether it's Carew or Heskey, will be in for no easy game.

Our midfield remain unchanged and its another chance for Ramires to get stuck in just like he did against the Arsenal. Mikel will remain in the holding position to provide much needed protection for our back four and Essien will look to get forward whenever he can.

For me up front and especially Kakuta is the main focus tomorrow. With Didier out, Nico will move into the middle with Malouda and Kakuta operating either side. From what I can recall (and I maybe wrong) but this is Kakuta's first start away from home in the Premier League and I hope he is able to find his feet sooner rather than later in the game. He is undoubted ability so let's hope we get to see exactly what he can do.

Malouda and Anelka will also be key for us tomorrow as they will provide Dunne and Collins with a different threat to Drogba. Last season, after the goal he scored against them, They played Drogba well and Collins even got on the scoresheet against us. However the movement of these two will have Dunne and Collins moving about all over the place. Whoever get's on top of the other could have a major say in the outcome of the game.

Villa have threat's of their own to Chelsea. They have Albrighton and Downing out wide and will look to play the ball to them to attack our full backs, especially if they are caught out of position. They have Ashley Young playing in behind the front man and will look to get on the ball in the hole between our midfield and back four so it's important that Mikel is aware to pick him up and make sure he doesn't have the time and space to gain possession and hurt us.

One thing will be clear from Villa tomorrow, knowing we are without Alex, Drogba and Lampard they will look to try and attack us and it will be a tight battle especially in the middle of midfield. If Essien and Ramires can get on top of Petrov and Reo Coker then we can look to get hold of the ball and make our possession count.

I stand by my belief that this will have just a single goal in it. Should Chelsea choose to play as we did against the Arsenal and more or less say to Villa come and break us down or decide to take the game to them will dictate the outcome. If we rely on set pieces and play like against Arsenal then we need to rememeber Drogba is missing defending our set plays and so is Alex and that represents a big loss for us as we will be facing the ariel threat of Collins, Dunne, Carew/Heskey.

Right now, with all the injury problems we have and Villa looking to impress their manager I would take a draw or a scrappy 1-0 win. Any points from the game are a bonus to me as I have said before it's going to be a really hard game.

However, we cannot afford to lose at this early stage of the season in my view. Let's just hope we can get on the ball and dominate possession early. Just remember it's all about Anelka and Malouda for us tomorrow.



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