Will Chelsea’s excellent form under Graham Potter continue?
Last weekend, the Blues demolished Wolves 3-0 at Stamford Bridge; Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic and Armando Broja all scoring.
That made it three successive Premier League wins, lifting Chelsea into the top four.
Either side of that, Potter’s team have climbed from bottom to top of their Champions League group, beating A.C. Milan home and away.
On Tuesday night, Jorginho’s penalty and then Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s close-range finish saw them cruise to victory over ten-men at San Siro.
Thus, if Chelsea win in Salzburg on matchday five, they’ll be through as group winners with a game to spare.
Back in the Premier League, will their winning streak continue?
This seems the most likely outcome, given Aston Villa’s underwhelming form.
On Monday night, they were held to a 1-1 draw by then bottom of the table Nottingham Forest.
Ashley Young equalising with a rocket at the City Ground, bagging his first Premier League goal since February 2019.
So, on one hand, Steven Gerrard’s side are unbeaten in four, a streak that includes holding Manchester City to a draw last month.
On the other, the Villans have won just one of their last seven, sit 16th in the table, having scored just seven times in nine matches.
Some of the Villa faithful have turned against Gerrard, so can he get the supporters back on side with a statement victory here?
Aston Villa team news
With Lucas Digne and Ludwig Augustinsson both injured, 37 year old Ashley Young will continue at left-back.
Meantime, summer signings Diego Carlos and Boubacar Kamara are both out long-term.
Jacob Ramsey already has four bookings to his name, meaning another yellow card would rule him out of Thursday’s trip to Craven Cottage.
Philippe Coutinho and Emi Buendía started together for just the sixth time on Monday, with these games producing just one win.
It’ll be interesting to see if Steven Gerrard reshapes his attack, possibly handing a return to Danny Ings, who’s scored twice in his last six appearances against Chelsea.
Chelsea team news
Wesley Fofana and N’Golo Kanté are out long-term, while Reece James hobbled off on Tuesday, which would be a massive blow.
Assuming James isn’t available, César Azpilicueta is the most likely deputy at right-back.
Kepa Arrizabalaga has started all five games under Graham Potter, his longest spell in the team since Édouard Mendy was away at AFCON in January.
Midfielder Denis Zakaria is still yet to make his debut; this is unlikely to change here.
Carney Chukwuemeka, who joined from Aston Villa for £20 million in the summer, was given his first minutes in Blue last weekend.
Up front, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice against Villa for Arsenal, and has netted in each of his last three starts.