Predicted Chelsea line-up (3-4-2-1) vs Aston Villa, Kante and Silva start
Chelsea face Aston Villa on the road in today's Premier League clash. The Blues are six points adrift of leaders Manchester City. They will be aiming to keep up in the title race with a return to winning ways.
Edouard Mendy is a definite starter between the sticks, but he will soon be leaving for the African Cup of Nations with Senegal. In defence, there could be a solitary change from last weekend.
Cesar Azpilicueta could be replaced by Trevoh Chalobah. The rest of the backline could remain identical. Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger are expected to fill the remaining positions in the back three.
Reece James and Marcos Alonso are nailed-on starters in the wing-back roles. Alonso has been poor defensively in recent games, but the Spaniard should be assured his spot with Ben Chilwell out injured.
In midfield, Mateo Kovacic could make his first start since his hamstring injury. The Croatian could accompany Jorginho. We fancy N'Golo Kante to make the XI, but in an advanced attacking role.
With Romelu Lukaku and Callum Hudson-Odoi have just returned to training after COVID-19, they may not be rushed back to the line-up. Mason Mount is expected to occupy the other attacking midfield position.
Up front, it could be another start for Christian Pulisic in the absence of key players. Lukaku may not be fit to start while Kai Havertz and Timo Werner have tested positive for coronavirus.
Predicted Chelsea line-up: Mendy; Chalobah, Silva, Rudiger; James, Kovacic, Jorginho, Alonso; Kante, Mount; Pulisic.