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It would be quite easy to treat Champions League qualification as a done deal following their vital 2-1 victory over Leicester on Tuesday, but Chelsea must be very careful not to do so. As demonstrated in their away win at Tottenham, Aston Villa are no pushovers and Thomas Tuchel’s side could very easily have found themselves outside the top four by Sunday evening.
Villa have come close against several top teams in recent weeks, taking early leads against Manchester United, Manchester City, and Liverpool only to be undone in each game. They will also be playing in front of a home crowd for the first time in over a year and will be keen to avoid a half-time booing like the one they inflicted on Tottenham.
Having said that, Chelsea’s away record under Tuchel has been impeccable. The Blues are unbeaten in eight away league fixtures and 12 in all competitions, winning eight and drawing three.
They have conceded just five goals in those 11 fixtures and find themselves in a battle for the top four due to their patchy home form. But, they should have just about enough to secure Champions League football on Sunday.
Sunday 15:00 – Aston Villa v Chelsea
Sky Sports Action
Chelsea’s aforementioned defensive record makes it difficult to see Villa breaking Tuchel’s side down in a similar manner to how they exploited weaknesses in the United, City, and Liverpool defences. The Blues have conceded just 14 goals in 28 games in all competitions since Tuchel’s appointment at the end of January and kept a staggering 18 clean sheets in that time.
In the Premier League, they have kept an impressive 11 blanks since his arrival and are by far the best defensive team in the division since Tuchel arrived on the scene.
They have only conceded more than one goal in a game on one occasion – a bizarre 5-2 home defeat to West Brom – and it’s difficult to see Aston Villa scoring against them on Sunday.
Villa have failed to score on four occasions in the league this season and could well end their campaign with a fifth, despite playing in front of a vocal home crowd.
Chelsea’s transformation at the back under the German boss has not been mirrored in their end product. The Blues have only scored more than two goals in the same game once since Tuchel took over, a statistic reflected in their end-of-season goalscoring charts.
The fact that Jorginho tops Chelsea’s Premier League scorers with seven penalties is reflective of just how misfiring their forwards have been.
They have attempted 270 shots on goal in 18 league games under Tuchel – a rate of 15 shots per game – but have only scored 24 times in the same period – a rate of one goal for every 11 shots.
That is simply not good enough and is indicative of their struggles in front of goal. Coupled with their impressive record at the other end, it all points to a low-scoring final day at Villa Park.
Werner has been the poster boy of Chelsea’s goalscoring problems. The German forward has quickly become a meme and seems to miss a gilt-edged chance in every game he plays.
He also seems to be caught offside on at least one occasion in every game and appears to be far more clinical when the linesman’s flag goes up.
However, Werner has been undeniably getting in the right position and typifies Chelsea’s high-energy approach under Tuchel.
His pace is a key component in how The Blues set up and in how teams set up against them. He can improve on his forgettable tally of six league goals here by scoring a crucial goal to secure Champions League football for next season.
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