Chelsea faces Aston Villa as Frank Lampard prepares his team to return to action for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic halted the Premier League season.

Dean Smith’s team won what could be a precious point in the first match under ‘Project Restart’ after a goalless draw with Sheffield United.

The Blues’ form was somewhat disappointing before the season came to an abrupt halt, with two wins in seven games.

But with the confirmation of the signing of Timo Werner from RB Leipzig, the importance of sealing the Champions League classification for next season has increased even more.

The circumstances will be challenging, with no fans present at the stadium and competitive soccer for the first time in more than three months.

But rarely is there an easy game in the top flight and with Villa already testing Premier League action behind closed doors, the Blues will need to be in tip-top shape to leave Villa Park with a win this afternoon.

Date, time and place.

Aston Villa vs Chelsea is scheduled to start at 4:15 p.m. BST today.

The game will be the second of three games on display on Sunday, with Everton and Liverpool playing the Merseyside derby at 7pm.

Villa Park will host the 30th game of the Premier League season for both sides without fans being allowed in the stadium due to government guidelines on the coronavirus.

Team news

Chelsea will miss midfielder Jorginho for the trip to Villa Park after he was suspended for collecting 10 yellow cards this season.

That could see Mateo Kovacic start alongside N’Golo Kante, who recently returned to full training, in midfield.

Prediction: Aston Villa 1-2 Chelsea

If Chelsea want to secure the Champions League qualification with a result in the top four, winning games against teams in the relegation zone will be a requirement when it comes to Lampard.

However, the hosts will have the advantage of playing a match under these conditions in Villa Park and with threats of attack like Jack Grealish will pose a danger in the future.

But the Blues have been powerful in front of goal, at least away from home with 29 goals in 14 away games in the League this season and are expected to come out with a win against struggling Villa.

Head to head history and results (h2h)

Chelsea has an impressive record against the Midlands-based team, with five consecutive victories since Villa’s 1-0 success in March 2014.

The overall record for head-to-head matches is a much tighter race, with Chelsea winning 63 times and Villa prevailing 57 times, with 34 draws.

This will be Chelsea’s first visit to Villa Park since the 2015/16 campaign when they came out with a 4-0 victory.

Bets and odds

Aston Villa to Win: 11/2
Chelsea to win: 4/7
Draw: 4/15
Under 2/5 goals: 10/13
Chelsea win 2-1: 6/1

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