Chelsea face a tricky test of their title credentials as they welcome Aston Villa to Stamford Bridge.
Should Tottenham fail to win earlier in day, Chelsea can go top with victory although they would need to better Manchester United and West Ham’s results if the latter pair also win if Thomas Tuchel’s Blues are to move to the summit.
Aston Villa meanwhile could go as high as sixth with a win and teams just above them lose.
Reece James is suspended for Chelsea after being red carded for handball in their away draw at Liverpool just before the international break.
Thiago Silva could miss this match through suspension after Chelsea breached FIFA rules by refusing to release the Brazilian for this month’s internationals.
Romelu Lukaku (thigh), N’Golo Kante and Christian Pulisic (both ankle) are doubts.
Villa will be without Argentinean duo of Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendia, after the pair entered quarantine upon their return from representing Argentina in this month’s internationals.
Bertrand Traore, Leon Bailey (both hamstring) and Ezri Konsa (knee) could feature if pass late fitness tests.
Jacob Ramsey (Coronavirus), Keinan Davis, Trezeguet and Morgan Sanson (both knee) are ruled out.
- Chelsea have lost just one of their last eight meetings against Aston Villa (W6, D1, L1).
- Villa are winless in their last six trips to Stamford Bridge (D1, L5).
- Villa’s Anwar El Ghazi scored once in both meetings against Chelsea last season (W1, D1).
- Chelsea have scored first in all three of their league matches so far this season (W2, D1).
- Ezri Konsa has won nine aerial battles in three league appearances this season, more than any other Aston Villa player.
Having scraped a draw at Liverpool just prior to the international break despite failing to clinically execute chances, despite defending well overall even after Reece James’ red card which will give them confidence coming into this game even if they’re without Lukaku and Kante amongst others.
Villa meanwhile were defensively poor in the opening minutes against Brentford but did grow into the match with intelligent attacking moves and quick passing movement, which paid dividends with a swift equaliser despite the majority of the match being scrappy with both teams wasting chances.
On that note, Chelsea will certainly fancy their chances if they can start on the front foot otherwise I can see Villa having enough in them to force a draw even without Martinez in goal.
Prediction: Chelsea 1-1 Aston Villa
Result: Chelsea 3-0 Aston Villa