Frank Lampard’s Chelsea side succumbed to their second league defeat on the trot when they lost 1-0 to London rivals West Ham United at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Although it could be argued that the absence of key players did act as a catalyst, the Blues undoubtedly had more than enough quality on the pitch to have made a difference.

With an upbeat Aston Villa side visiting Stamford Bridge in midweek, Frank Lampard will be hoping to get their season back on track. Chelsea are yet to win in the league since November 9, and more worryingly, are now just six points ahead of Tottenham Hotspur, who are in 5th place. With fourteen points separating the Blues from the league leaders Liverpool, any hopes of a late-season title charge have now withered away.

Team News

Tammy Abraham’s hip injury has had a massive effect on this Chelsea team. Although Michy Batshuayi was available off the bench, Frank Lampard preferred to use Olivier Giroud last weekend, further signifying just how important Tammy’s return to fitness will be.

Azpilicueta was given a rest over the weekend and could be ready to start as well. In terms of injuries, the names of Antonio Rudiger and Ruben Loftus-Cheek remain on the list, while Ross Barkley could return to the squad for this fixture.

Chelsea Predicted Lineup

Formation 4-3-3

Defence

Kepa Arizzabalaga’s place in the Chelsea goal has been come under scrutiny in recent weeks, but the fact that second-choice Willy Caballero can’t give the Spaniard a run for his money ensures that the Spaniard keeps his place in between the sticks. In front of him, expect to see the familiar defensive duo of Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori.

Although neither of them had a terrible game against West Ham United, they do need to work on maintaining concentration. Cesar Azpilicueta could return on the right flank in place of Reece James, with Emerson continuing on the left. Although the Italian wasn’t perfect against the Hammers, he’ll be hoping to win over the Chelsea fans when Villa come to town.

Midfield

Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho have both been in a rich vein of form since the start of the campaign, and have shown no signs of slowing down either. With N’Golo Kante now back to full fitness as well, it will once again be Mason Mount who has to pay the price. The youngster hasn’t shown himself in the best light over the last few outings and will have to do with a place on the bench yet again.

Attack

Chelsea fans will be hoping and praying that Tammy Abraham will be able to recover in time for this midweek fixture. Olivier Giroud put on an absolute horror show of a performance up-front for the Pensioners at the weekend and is sure to be dropped. Expect the Englishman to recover just in time to take his place in the starting lineup. With Christian Pulisic and Willian set to support him on either side, the Blues could get back to winning ways against the Villans.

Nikhil has been an avid Chelsea fan for as long as the concept of time has existed and rumours say that he even bleeds blue. Having lived in the UK for 3 years, Nikhil is said to have an excellent understanding of the atmosphere surrounding the English game. His role model is the greatest manager of all time - Jose Mourinho.