Aston Villa have received a ‘massive bonus’ ahead of their trip to Chelsea with the news that the European champions will be without a number of stars.
That’s according to former Sheffield United and Leeds goalkeeper Paddy Kenny, who was speaking to Football Insider.
Chelsea, who have won two and drawn one of their first three Premier League games, won’t be able to call upon N’Golo Kante, Christian Pulisic (both injured) or Reece James (suspended).
Villa are dealing with absentees of their own, though. Argentine pair Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendia are unavailable for the clash at Stamford Bridge because of quarantine requirements.
Dean Smith’s men picked up a point in this fixture last season after Anwar El-Ghazi cancelled out Olivier Giroud’s opener.
Kenny says Villa’s chances have now considerably improved, and he reckons Dean Smith ‘will love’ the fact that he’s not the only manager dealing with injuries.
“Any team that has got that many players missing, it’ll be a massive bonus for the opposition.
“They have got a better chance of beating Chelsea now, but it’s still going to be a very tough game.
“With that many players out though, they’ll think they’ve got a shot at getting something from the game.
“I think especially with the players that Villa have got missing themselves, Dean Smith will love to see it.”
The issue for Villa is that Chelsea have so much strength in depth. Matteo Kovacic can come in for N’Golo Kante, Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Callum Hudson-Odoi can slot into wide roles and Cesar Azpilicueta may move into James’ position.
And, crucially, Romelu Lukaku has been cleared to play after an injury scare. There are few more daunting opponents in the Premier League than the Belgian no. 9.
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