Premier League Stats: Aston Villa v Chelsea
Guus Hiddink is in charge of his first-ever Premiership match for Chelsea but there are few places he'd rather have to go than Villa Park. Master number-crunchers bettorlogic talk us through this one. Best bet: Lay Chelsea @ [2.34].
Guus Hiddink announced upon his arrival that he still believed Chelsea could win the Premier League this season, but first he must try and wrestle third place from Aston Villa. That will be no mean feat against a team that has lost only two of their last nine league matches against the Big Four in a fixture that Chelsea last won in the 1990s (there have been six draws and three home wins since 2000).
However, Villa's progress up the table owes more to their away record (W10-D0-L3 --no Premier League side with 10 away wins has ever finished outside the top three) than it does to their erratic home form (W5-D6-L1). Villa have managed just one home league victory over the Big Four under Martin O'Neill -- although that did come against the Blues -- and three in the last 10 years. The draw (W3-D18-L19) has been almost as common as defeat for Villa over the 10-year period and exactly so (W1-D5-L5) under O'Neill.
Chelsea's away form has disappeared after their eight straight wins to start the season. Their record against top-six finishers (including this season's top six) leaves a lot to be desired at just W2-D4-L7 since the start of 2006/07. The two draws that preceded the back-to-back losses at the Big Four were both at current top-half sides (Everton and Fulham). In fact, Chelsea are just W3-D4-L4 against the current top half this season, including no wins in their last seven such games.
There is scant recent evidence to support the Blues at such a short price ([2.32]) for this game and, although Villa's home record against Chelsea is better than against the other Big Four sides, the draw at [3.35] looks the best option to back.
Five of Villa's six games at home to the current top half were drawn and all but one of those (the 2-2 against Arsenal) was goalless. The 0-0 also accounts for four of their five draws at home to the Big Four under O'Neill. The 2-0 loss (4/13) and 1-1 (3/13) dominate Chelsea's recent record at top-six sides, although those looking to back Chelsea should be aware that 18 of their last 20 away wins have been to nil.
Villa have had just three half-time leads at home this season and the five 0-0s at Villa Park mean the D/D has been the most common double result there. The same is true of their record when hosting the Big Four under O'Neill, with four D/Ds as well as four L/Ls.
No one result has stood out in Chelsea's games at top six sides, with the L/L, L/D and D/D (4/13, 3/13 and 3/13, respectively) most common in that sample.
Aston Villa clean sheet
O'Neill's Villa have kept clean sheets in five of their 11 home games against the Big Four as well as in five of 12 at Villa Park this season against all teams. Chelsea have failed to net in three of their last four on the road, as well as in six of their last seven at top-six teams (7/13 since the start of 06/07). On that basis, the Villa clean sheet price ([3.6]) looks very appealing.
Chelsea clean sheet
The Blues have managed only two clean sheets in 13 trips to top-six teams and have managed three in 11 games against this season's top half. Villa's scoring record against the Big Four is patchy though, netting in four of eight in O'Neill's first season (0/4 at home), then seven of eight last term (4/4) but only two of five this season (1/3).