Chelsea v Aston Villa

Six games, six wins, twelve goals scored and none conceded — and it’s all down to luck. Well, it is if the inane ramblings of a certain Frenchman from N5 are to be believed.

We’ve been accused of many preposterous things in the last seven days, but to put our great start to the season down to luck highlights just how desperate the opposition is getting. I’m beginning to sense an air of defeatism at rival clubs, and it’s only September.

Aston Villa manager David O’Leary has said his side will try to do the rest of the Premiership a favour by scoring a goal, and promises to continue to play ‘attacking’ football in the hope of doing so.

But with Kevin Phillips and Milan Baros (the worst one-on-one striker I’ve seen for a while) likely to miss out due to injury, and Juan Pablo Angel yet to get off the mark this season, the likelihood of that happening looks remote.

Jose Mourinho is ready for the moment when it finally occurs, though. He told BBC London radio: “It will be a shock for others, not for us. We are football people and we know that you concede goals.

“I hope we concede on a day when we score more than one goal because we will still win.”

Defensively we’re still without a specialist left-back. Asier Del Horno is out with a thigh injury but hopes to be back in time for Wednesday’s clash with Liverpool in the Champions League, while Wayne Bridge isn’t yet fully recovered from his bad ankle injury despite playing for the Reserves in their 4-0 win over Watford midweek. William Gallas will continue to deputise for the two of them.

Eidur Gudjohnsen comes back into contention after a bout of illness and will start on the bench. Shaun Wright-Phillips might be given a berth in the starting eleven in place of either Robben or Duff, while Crespo is likely to continue up front.

My guess at the line-up: Cech; Ferreira, Terry, Carvalho, Gallas; Lampard, Makelele, Essien; Wright-Phillips, Duff, Crespo.

Prediction: Much has been made of Villa’s 8-3 thrashing of Wycombe in their midweek League Cup clash, but many have neglected to point out that they were 3-1 down at half-time and still behind on the hour mark to a team in League Two. All things considered, our defence is a tad better than Wycombe’s and the record shows that we’ve kept clean sheets in five of the last six identical Premiership fixtures (not to mention our record-breaking, six-games-without-conceding start to this season), and the two meetings between the teams last season resulted in only one goal for Damien Duff.

Despite David O’Leary’s promise to play ‘attacking’ football, the likelihood is we’ll come up against another resolute 4-5-1 formation intent on not conceding… so don’t expect a goalfest. Another 2-0 win.

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Chelsea 2 – 1 Aston Villa · Update

See Lampard’s goals here (downloadable zip files).

Match Reports: BBC Sport; Sky Sports; ESPNSoccernet; Official Chelsea FC Website; The Observer; Sporting Life; Football365; Independent on Sunday; Sunday Telegraph; Sunday Times; The Independent; Daily Telegraph; The Times; The Guardian.

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