With their eight clean sheets this season leading the way in the Premier League and a total that has already surpassed their one last season, it is clear something is going right with the defending by today’s opponents Aston Villa.

Four of those shut-outs have come in the past four games and such form has lifted last season’s relegation candidates into the top 10, and Frank Lampard would not be at all surprised if his long-time team-mate John Terry, now an assistant to Dean Smith at Villa Park, has plenty to do with it.‘I am sure John has an influence because he is in my opinion one of the greatest centre-backs to have played in the Premier League and for England, and in the world for a long period of time,’ Lampard stresses.‘He has an absolute wealth of knowledge of the game so his input will be invaluable to Dean Smith and all the staff. Their team are working hard and you have seen a real big uplift in them, and I am sure there is a lot work behind the scenes through John and all the staff there.’

Chelsea are very keen to finish off 2020 with a victory having slipped up at Arsenal on Boxing Day, but it will need a top showing at Stamford Bridge against a team Lampard rates overall.‘They obviously added to their squad in a very good way in the off season,’ he says. ‘They have a good manager, good coaches and a good team with very good individual players who are playing well.‘They are in a really good time at the moment and I am not completely surprised by it, and it will be a tough match.’