Chelsea are seeking revenge for Villa's win here last season. Former Blue Clive Walker suggests how that might come about.
'We all heard the talk of jet lag, long-haul travelling coming back from Japan, and sometimes this can be brought up as an excuse - mainly by the media. If it's talked about too much in the vicinity of the training ground, dressing room and the like then players might start to believe it.
'I think they proved that this was not an excuse against Leeds, especially in the second half when people might have expected them to tire or have their heads down. Once the adrenalin kicked in with the equaliser early in the second half, tiredness was a thing of the past. They knew it mattered to the supporters to beat Leeds, and they showed they cared too.
'You always need your big players to step up when you need them. Juan Mata certainly did that on Wednesday; he was on the ball more, found lots of space and pulled the strings. Then the others started to fill in and it seemed like a question of patience and time - that's a lesson that will serve the team well over the entire season, and in games such as this one against Aston Villa.
'Footballers see this part of the season as a time to be disciplined. The modern player knows things can go quickly wrong during the festive period, not only with the team but also individually. They are also aware that if they're in a good position in the league they want to be in a similar place when the league takes a breather and the FA Cup third round comes along.
'Frank Lampard may have played himself in to a start against Villa. He was at his best against Leeds and he has put the injury behind him. The timing of his return could not have been better for the sake of the team. With him and Ramires, back from suspension, it gives a solid base in holding positions.
'Also available is Gary Cahill, who started his career at Villa but has scored quite a few goals against his old side since. He may also start but Rafa Benítez will look at the boys in training and make the decision about who plays at the back.
'Christian Benteke and Andreas Weimann (pictured below) are becoming a decent pair upfront for Villa. The power of Benteke and the pace of Weimann are almost the perfect double act. They are young and lack experience, but shear enthusiasm will mean we will have to keep our concentration for the full 90 minutes - we saw again at Elland Road what happens when we don't.
'Paul Lambert is beginning to impose his style on Villa but it is a slow process because of the balance of his team and the precarious position they have found themselves in the league.
'His team ethics change according to the opposition and whether it's home or away - he can sometimes go out to negate the hosts away from home. It seems clear he has an idea as to how he eventually wants his team to play, but they are not ready for that style week in and week out.
'In Eden Hazard, Oscar, Victor Moses, Mata - who should all be confident after that test of nerve at Leeds - we have the creative players to break down a defensive side. You would also hope that, increasingly, we have the experience and nous to overcome the barriers teams place in front of us.
'The biggest weakness Villa have is the lack of experience of the team and of the manager at the highest level. Of course, they are gaining experience all the time and if he can keep them together in a couple of years they may have something. But all teams that lack good solid, experienced players will have blips along the way.
'Rafa will probably have in mind a certain number of target points over this busy period. We may look at certain matches and think we will take all the points but we cannot take that as a given.
'He seems to be doing the right thing, taking each game as it comes and picking and rotating the players accordingly. We have a great squad and he will want the freshest players on the pitch at all times.
'The 11 must always have a good balance. It is a tough job for the manager to get this right through this festive period unscathed. Let's hope he does.'
For Villa, midfielder Stephen Ireland returns from illness but defender Ron Vlaar (calf) and striker Gabriel Agbonlahor (thigh) are doubts.
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Chelsea have used 20 players in the Barclays Premier League this term, fewer than any other club.
Chelsea have won seven points from the last 24 available, one win in the last eight.
West Ham was the only occasion this season, out of 10, we have opened the scoring in the Premier League and went on to lose the game.
Only Stoke, with eight, have kept more clean sheets than Chelsea's six.
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