In Chelsea’s Premier League return they look to get the double over Aston Villa – while they look to escape relegation.
The Premier League returned on June 17 and Matchday 29 was concluded. The matches will be a showing of how different football will be for some time until it is totally safe. No fans, empty stadiums, masks, fake crowd noise, etc.
Aston Villa’s 0-0 draw to Sheffield United was the first match back. It was a big step forward and a great success for Project Restart. Hopefully, everything runs as seamlessly as Wednesday night’s first double-headers did.
As for Chelsea, it has been a relatively eventful 3 and a half months. Callum Hudson-Odoi was Chelsea’s only player to contract COVID-19 but he has recovered since and is in good health. During this period, Chelsea spent a lot of time engaging in transfer talks and was able to secure Timo Werner.
What the Premier League’s return means
During these uncertain times, the whole world was sent into lockdown and people’s lives were changed. Now, the world is finally getting back to normal and people are getting back to their daily routines.
Football is the only major sport to have made a return. The Premier League’s resurgence in particular will give fans all around the world something to enjoy. Something to keep them happy and cheerful.
What to look out for
Chelsea was victorious against Aston Villa in their first fixture back in December. The Blues were able to win 2-1. Both Chelsea and Aston Villa will be fresh after a long break. The Blues finished well before the break and Villa did not. Chelsea won 4-0 against Everton and Aston Villa lost 4-0 against Leicester City.
With an increase in the number of players on the bench and the number of substitutes, a higher quality of play is near guaranteed. The fake crowd noise should somewhat help the players, as no one is used to playing in an empty stadium. As for health guidelines, players on the bench will be wearing masks at all times, not only to keep themselves safe but others as well.
Frank Lampard has quite the dilema
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Chelsea used the past 3 and a half months to make sure their entire squad has recovered from injury and is ready to go. Nearly every single player on the senior squad will be available except Jorginho, who is serving the final match of his suspension. Kovacic, Kanté, Pulisic, Hudson-Odoi, Abraham, and Loftus-Cheek are all expected to be fit by the time Sunday comes.
Frank Lampard has 2 main issues pertaining to the match; one is who to start in midfield and the other is who will start at left-back. Based on current form, performances in friendlies, and fitness levels, it will be tough to predict the midfielders.
The wait is almost over! Bring on Sunday… 💪
— Chelsea FC (at 🏡) (@ChelseaFC) June 19, 2020
On defense, Lampard must decide whether he wants Cesar Azpilicueta or Marcos Alonso to start. Azpi has played much of the season at left-back upon the emergence of Reece James. But once again, Lampard has another tough decision to make.
Chelsea has a huge decision regarding two of their forwards. Pedro and Willian are set to leave the club at the end of the month and could potentially be playing in their final matches as a Chelsea Blue.
Chelsea has the option to extend their contracts until the end of the season, but nothing has been announced yet. Pedro and Willian both have played really well for the club. Whether Chelsea decides to renew their deals, they made the fans proud.
Predictions of the game
Chelsea predicted starting XI:
Kepa, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Christensen, James, Kanté, Gilmour, Kovacic, Mount, Giroud, and Pedro.
Aston Villa prediction starting XI:
Reina, Targett, Ming, Engels, Guilbert, Grealish, Hourihane, Nakamba, Luiz, Elmohamady, and Samatta.
Best combines Chelsea and Aston Villa XI:
Kepa, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Ming, James, Kanté, Kovacic, Grealish, Mount, Luiz, and Abraham.
Score Prediction: (Chelsea going for the double)
Chelsea 3-0 Aston Villa