Aston Villa v Chelsea 2016
With Eric Black drafted in to oversee Villa’s relegation, a game against Chelsea isn’t an ideal start for the interim manager.
Black spoke of the ‘doom and gloom’ surrounding Villa Park, and most fans would like to see the season ended now to spare us from further misery.
Still, the show must go, even if it is against a team with Chelsea’s impressive form.
It’s a fairly meaningless tie for both teams, in truth, but 20th vs 10th should be slightly interesting, if only to see how the players respond following Garde’s departure.
Chelsea’s 14 match unbeaten run is the best current run in the league
Black on Chelsea
“In the time I’ve been here I’ve never seen any splits in this dressing room. I’ve been in a lot of dressing rooms and have seen splits before.
“We’ve got to try and change something. The atmosphere has been poor in terms of everyone’s been a bit doom and gloom. I can help that process but ultimately I won’t be out on the field.
“We have seven games left, seven important games.
“Firstly I have to thank Rémi for bringing me to the club. I found him an exceptional individual.
“We must move on to Saturday and focus on trying to get a good result againt Chelsea.
“We’re running an investigation which is underway. I’ve removed Gabby from the squad on Saturday. My focus is purely on Chelsea.
“I’ve looked at the previous games. I’ve been involved in training. I’ll pick a team I think is capable of competing against Chelsea.”
Hiddink on Villa clash
“We want to get the maximum out of the team regarding the league table, to get the best position possible.
“But also we appeal to the players to say ‘hey, you are a big club which has had a very difficult season and is recovering step by step’. When you play as a big club in a difficult situation, you must have pride as well.”
“[Villa] were playing with ambition against Swansea. The team looked very fresh and they were playing with a lot of ambition.
“When there is a change there is automatically a reaction. We can expect an entertaining game tomorrow.”
07 Feb 2015 Aston Villa 1 Chelsea 2
Despite an Okore equaliser, Mourinho finally got a win at Villa Park.
Villa – Last five matches at home: W 1, D 1, L 3
Villa have won just once against Chelsea in the last five attempts at Villa Park.
One to Watch
Branislav Ivanovic – For some bizarre reason, the defender has scored five times against Villa in his career, more than against any other opponent.
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
Where do we start?
Despite the inexplicable disaster that has been Chelsea’s season, their recent form is impressive thanks to stand-in boss Hiddink, who has not lost a league game during his Chelsea return.
Their 14 match unbeaten run is the best current run in the league, and having not lost in 6 away games, it’s a daunting task for Eric Black.
Garde’s departure has largely been met with sympathy from Villa fans, many of whom have blamed the players rather than the Frenchman’s managerial ability. Statistics such as the fact Villa’s players have made a league-high 12 errors leading to goals this season, back up that point.
While Chelsea are unbeaten in six away games, Villa have lost six consecutive games, and it’s the first time in a 38-match season that Villa have lost a whopping 21 matches – our worst record in 29 years.
With players responsible for the league’s worst goalscoring and defensive records, Eric Black could be in for a tricky Saturday.
“The atmosphere has been poor in terms of everyone’s been in a bit doom and gloom” – eric black
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag (for the optimistic)
With Traore and Grealish set to be in contention for Saturday’s game, there’s at least something for the fans to be excited about.
Agbonlahor is being ‘investigated’ by the club at the moment, and you get the sense that there will be more of this in the coming weeks as the new-look board ring the changes.
If the last time we played with an interim manager (MacDonald) is anything to go by, the squad will probably be baffling.
With a new manager possibly watching on, however, there’s a chance performance levels could improve from any players hoping to stick around in the second division.
A trip to Villa Park isn’t an entirely intimidating prospect for Chelsea, but if they approach the game in the wrong mentality, they could be caught out.
Live on TV, Villa’s much-maligned players must have a point to prove – can they finally do so on Saturday?