Aston Villa-Chelsea Preview

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Frank Lampard has told his Chelsea players to take their share of the blame for the club's poor run of form as they prepare to face Aston Villa.

The Blues topped the Premier League on December 5 but have since lost three of their last four matches - each coming away from home - to slide down the division.

The most recent loss came at out-of-sorts London rivals Arsenal on Saturday and Lampard is now after a swift response when high-flying Villa visit Stamford Bridge.

"I'll take responsibility on the outside but the players also have to take responsibility," he said. "The message was clear - Arsenal are a dangerous team.

"When you go out and play 60 or 70 per cent then you're not going to win any Premier League games.

"It is not tactics or systems, it is do you want to run, back your team-mate out and sprint? Or do you want to jog and say 'maybe I don't have to run'."

While Chelsea are fading away as 2020 draws to a close, Villa are on the up thanks to three wins and a draw in their last four matches, keeping a clean sheet in each of those.

Villa have not kept a clean sheet in any of their last 19 away league games against Chelsea since 1998, however, and boss Dean Smith is anticipating a tough test on Monday.

"Chelsea have got some very good players with their acquisitions in the summer. We need to be at our best," he said.

"We know what we're coming up against, a top-four team in the Premier League. We've got to be ready and ready to compete.

"We'll see less with the ball but we've got to make sure when we win it back we use it very well."

Villa have lost 10 of their last 11 Premier League games against Chelsea, including the last six in a row.

KEY PLAYERS

Chelsea - Callum Hudson-Odoi

Hudson-Odoi made a positive impact as a half-time substitute in the loss to Arsenal and Lampard hinted after the match the winger will start this match against Villa.

The England international has been directly involved in two goals in six league appearances this term and will be looking to add to that tally in this big game.

Villa - Anwar El-Ghazi

El-Ghazi rounded off the scoring for Villa in their 3-0 win over Crystal Palace on Boxing Day to make it four goals in his last four Premier League matches.

That equals the left-sided attacker's tally from his previous 37 appearances in the competition, making him a real threat to Chelsea's shaky back four.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Villa have won two of their three Premier League games in London this season, though their only defeat on the road this term came in the capital (2-1 v West Ham). Only in 1992-93 (three), 1995-96 (three) and 2008-09 (three) have the Villans won more Premier League games in London in a single campaign.

- Chelsea have lost their final league game in just one of the last 17 calendar years (W12 D4), though that was their last home league loss against Aston Villa (3-1 in 2011).

- The Villans have won their final league game in just one of their last eight calendar years (D4 L3), winning 1-0 at Middlesbrough in 2017. Their last such Premier League victory was in 2011, in a 3-1 victory against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

- Chelsea have lost just one of their last 13 Premier League home games (W10 D2), going down 2-0 against Liverpool earlier this season. When scoring at least once, the Blues have lost just one of their last 39 Premier League games at Stamford Bridge (2-1 vs Liverpool in September 2019).

- Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud has scored in each of his last six Premier League appearances against Aston Villa, netting eight goals in total in this run. Against no side has the Frenchman scored more Premier League goals than he has vs the Villans (eight).