The Blues have started the new top-flight campaign in sparkling form with two wins and a draw from their opening three games. A hard-fought 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Anfield with 10 men for more than half the game proved testament to Thomas Tuchel side’s title credentials.
Aston Villa, meanwhile, have somewhat recovered after a shock 3-2 defeat to newbies Watford on the opening day with a 2-0 win over Newcastle United and an interesting 1-1 draw with newly-promoted Brentford.
Chelsea will head into Saturday’s fixture against Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge as overwhelming favourites, purely because of their form and the overall quality of the squad.
3 key battles in the game between Chelsea and Aston Villa
Romelu Lukaku vs Axel Tuanzebe
Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku was in red-hot form over the international break, scoring three goals in two World Cup qualifying fixtures. He has also done well since returning to Chelsea and will lead his team’s attack on Saturday.
The big Belgian, one of the most in-form strikers over the last couple of years, will likely be up against an Aston Villa defence that is hamstrung with injuries. Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa are doubtful, meaning Dean Smith could go with the centre-back pairing of Axel Tuanzebe and Kortney Hause at Stamford Bridge.
Lukaku is an intimidating force and will look to force mistakes upon the Villa backline. In Mings and Konsa’s likely absence, Tuanzebe must marshal his troops well and neutralise the threat posed by Chelsea’s star striker.
Mason Mount vs Douglas Luiz
Mason Mount has been a key cog in Tuchel’s system and was absolutely superb for much of the last season with the club. He has started all three opening games for Chelsea, supplying an assist and linking up very well with the likes of Kai Havertz and Romelu Lukaku up front.
On Saturday, the England international will be facing off against a competent defensive midfielder in Douglas Luiz. With his ability to control the tempo of the game and break up play from the holding midfield role, Luiz, 23, has shown how crucial he is to the Villans’ set-up under Dean Smith in the last two years.
It’ll be fascinating to see how these two young midfielders battle it out on the pitch at Stamford Bridge.
Danny Ings vs Antonio Rudiger
Danny Ings joined Aston Villa from Southampton last month, ending his three-year spell at the south coast. He has enjoyed a fine start to life in the Claret and Blue, bagging two goals in three games including an acrobatic bicycle kick against Newcastle.
Antonio Rudiger has improved leaps and bounds under the watchful guidance of Tuchel and is now one of the first names on the team sheet. The Germany international is a strong, no-nonsense defender who will be tasked to keep Ings at bay.
With tireless work-rate, link-up play and runs into the channels, Ings will look to threaten the Blues’ backline. Tuchel will hope Rudiger holds his own and leads the backline well at the weekend to continue Chelsea’s unbeaten start to the Premier League season.