All eyes will be on the Aston Villa attack as the Claret & Blue looks to break its awful goalscoring drought, on a club record 6 league matches and counting and reaching over 10 hours of game time. So if you’re Paul Lambert, what do you do to break the drought?
Bench your striker, of course.
Under-fire Lambert has stuck Christian Benteke among the substitutes for the game against Chelsea at Villa Park, live on NBCSN at 10:00am ET or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra. The benching is a bit harsh on the big Belgian who hasn’t received much to work with up front during the shortage. In his place, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Andreas Weimann, and Carles Gil will look to make up for the lack of a true striker up front.
Carlton Cole and new signing Scott Sinclair are also left out of the starting lineup.
Chelsea will look to take advantage, although they’ll need to get through a solid Villa defense which has given up just 13 goals in 11 home matches, but they’ve supported that with just seven goals at Villa Park as well.
On the other end, Didier Drogba starts up front in the absence of Diego Costa who is on suspension. Drogba replaces Loic Remy, who got the spot start last week against Manchester City and scored a goal. New signing Juan Cuadrado is among the substitutes for Jose Mourinho with Oscar, Willian, and Eden Hazard all in the attack. Cesc Fabregas can’t pass the late fitness test to make his return, as Mourinho looks to pick up his first win at Villa Park.
The home side gets Ron Vlaar back from injury, but he can only make the bench. The 29-year-old Dutch defender has struggled with knee and calf injuries this year, but is back after missing the last three matches.
Aston Villa: Guzan, Hutton, Okore, Clark, Cissokho, Westwood, Delph, Cleverley, Agbonlahor, Weimann, Gil.
Subs: Given, Vlaar, Bacuna, Sinclair, Cole, Benteke, Sanchez.
Chelsea Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Ramires, Matic; Willian, Oscar, Hazard; Drogba.
Subs: Cech, Zouma, Ake, Mikel, Loftus-Cheek, Cuadrado, Remy.