Villa can take advantage of depleted Chelsea
Aston Villa might have lost their last game before the international break, but there's no doubt they're turning the corner since Gerard Houllier's appointment.
The Villans are playing with more assurance and are showing great fighting spirit, exemplified by their two wins before the Tottenham match, where they've come back to win after being behind or drawing.
Nobody seems to be enjoying Houllier's reign more than Emile Heskey (10/1 first goal), the former England international is a real favourite of the Frenchman's and should he recover from his leg injury he will start just ahead of Ashley Young (9/1).
It's fair to say that Heskey didn't really get a fair crack of the whip while Martin O'Neill was in charge at Villa Park, but it just goes to show what a new manager can do for fringe players, Nigel Reo-Coker (25/1) is another one to have benefited this season since the change in management having started five of the last six games.
Reo-Coker and Stiliyan Petrov (25/1) are holding the midfield together allowing Marc Albrighton (16/1) to run at defenders, the young midfielder has been one of the revelations of the season for Villa and is sure to be knocking on the door for England soon enough.
The home team (4/1) have a good record over Chelsea (8/11) at Villa Park, with only one league defeat there in their last 11 games, admittedly most of those have been draws (5/2) though.
The Villans also have only lost once in their last 12 home games in the Premier League.
With Chelsea missing several key players I think Villa will get plenty of chances, the double chance market has Villa or Draw at 11/10 which looks a cracking price to me while both teams to score even looks a good bet at 8/11.
The Blues have been outstanding this season so far but with their injury list they will be hard pushed to come to the Midlands and cruise to victory.
The players that Carlo Ancelotti DOESN'T have at his disposal at the minute include; Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Saloman Kalou, Yossi Benayoun and Alex.
Of course Chelsea's squad is still strong, but anyone would miss the calibre of those players, even Man City.
The loss of Drogba will be most keenly felt; the big Ivorian had six goals from his eight games so far and scored in both matches against Villa last season.
His absence though will give a chance for French teenager Gael Kakuta to earn his first Premier League start, he's a 6/1 shot to make it a perfect start with the opener, which would be his first for the club.
Kakuta will form a French front three, with Nicolas Anelka (9/2) and Florent Malouda (9/2), Anelka has just five goals in his last 21 Premier League games so Ancelotti will want him to start firing soon if Drogba is to be out for an extended period of time.