Chelsea head coach Graham Potter says there is “more to come” from his players ahead of their visit to Aston Villa after an encouraging start to life as Blues boss.
Since joining from Brighton and Hove Albion in September, Potter is yet to lose a match having won four of his five games in all competitions. Yet Potter believes his players can produce even better.
“I’ve been impressed with the guys and their attitudes have been fantastic,” he said. “The main focus is going game to game and progressing. I don’t think we’re at the maximum but there is more to come from the team.
“The players are open, honest and responsible. They are honest and want to do well.”
Despite Villa not losing in their last four matches, they have won just one of those games and head coach Steven Gerrard is under pressure. But the former Liverpool midfielder says that while his team are underperforming, he is seeing improvements.
“We know, and I’ll say it as loud as you want me to say it, that we’re not firing on all cylinders,” Gerrard said. “But there’s also a lot of things right in terms of how we look, our structure defensively, the effort and commitment of the boys, we’re getting a lot of players back into better form.”
But Gerrard also acknowledged it will be a difficult task on Sunday against an in-form Chelsea.
“Everything points to them being favourites in the game, but this is at Villa Park,” he said. “We want to take the game to Chelsea and be as aggressive as we can.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Aston Villa – Jacob Ramsey
Ramsey has created more chances for Villa than any of his teammates in the Premier League this season (11) and may have to shoulder the responsibility yet again if his side are to get anything against Chelsea.
Chelsea – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
The former Arsenal man has scored in his last three appearances in all competitions and will fancy his chances of netting again should he feature against the Villans.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Villa have won just one of their last 10 Premier League games against Chelsea (drawn one, lost eight), beating them 2-1 on the final day of the 2020-21 season.
– Chelsea have had more different goal scorers than any other side in the Premier League this season (10), with Christian Pulisic and Armando Broja netting their first goals of the campaign against Wolves last time out.
– Villa are unbeaten in their last four Premier League games (won one, drawn three), their longest spell under Steven Gerrard, and longest overall since December 2020 (five unbeaten under Dean Smith). However, the Villans have only won two of their last 13 league matches (drawn five, lost six), and just one of their last seven (drawn three, lost three).
– Raheem Sterling has currently scored 49 Premier League goals away from home (eight for Liverpool, 40 for Manchester City, one for Chelsea), with his next strike being his 50th. Should he score, at 27 years and 312 days, he will be the fourth youngest to that landmark in the competition’s history after Michael Owen (23y 259d), Harry Kane (24y 148d) and Wayne Rooney (25y 69d).
– Only Wolves (three) have scored fewer Premier League goals than Villa (seven) this season. Villa are averaging 10.9 shots per match in the competition this term: since Opta have full shot data available in the Premier League (from 2003-04), only in 2015-16 (10.0) have they averaged fewer shots per game over a season in the division, a campaign which saw them finish bottom.