Chelsea are stopping and starting, it seems nobody wants to win the title. Arsenal have a smooth run till the end of the season so it is important Chelsea and Manchester United win all their games.
Chelsea are kind of in a bad run, their loss to Inter in the Champions’ League and their draw at Blackburn was equally deflating. In Midweek they punished Portsmouth 5-0 with what seems to be a winning formula, a three-man attack.
Villa will have to play Chelsea twice in the next 2 weeks, as they play in the FA Cup on April 10. Villa seem to have hit the wall, their tight squad is tired and is feeling the strain.
The League Cup run was tiring and Villa have to pick themselves up. Ashley Young has had a poor season but is on form now and could sneak into the squad for South Africa.
The 3-prong attack goes against Ancelloti’s Italian defensive style, but he uses it to good effect. Normally two strikers drop deep to bolster midfield but this time they have two wide-attackers waiting for a counter-attack with Drogba lying deep. Malouda is the key to this, he is restricted on the left so he drifts, but he scored 2 in midweek and was crucial in all the plays.
Drogba is on fire, but Anelka has been wavering, and it is crucial to get them playing together. Malouda links the two main strikers well, finding holes, freeing up space and scoring.
Joe Cole enjoys games like this, he will be afforded room to pass. Lampard is a shadow of himself but still has 14 goals, Mikel Obi should complete the midfield and plug the gap.
For Villa, they need a big game from the back four. Richard Dunne has been immense and City would rather have him than Toure or Lescott at the moment.
Steven Warnock is another contender for the left back slot for England and Fabio Capello will be watching. Villa have many England contenders but none quite make it; Curtis Davies, Warnock, James Milner, Ashley Young, Stewart Downing, Emil Heskey and Gabriel Agbonlahor.
The problem is the Martin O’Neil’s style of play eventually tires out the players. The high-energy cut and thrust game of Villa, up and down the wings needs a big squad and Villa cannot afford that.
They need to adapt a slower passing game to compliment their other side, for example Spurs are similar to Villa in resources and talent but Luka Modric gives Spurs a little extra quality in the middle. Villa doesn’t have that imaginative passer with wide vision.
Chelsea needs to dominate the passing game, this is when Chelsea could do with Deco sitting deep spraying the ball. Ancelloti has found little use for him but he can do wonders in a game like this to free up running players, with Mikel as a bodyguard.
I imagine the Italian will stick to his usual players, he has enough fire-power to dispose of Villa.
For Villa it is crucial that they block the middle, Agbonlahor and Young are quick on the break and provide Villa their best chance. John Carew is a human mountain, a cross between an Igbo warrior mixed with Viking blood, he knows how to plunder. He can keep Terry and Carvalho fully occupied while others sneak in.
3-1 to Chelsea looks likely as the fatigue starts to show for Villa.