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Chelsea v Aston Villa

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Benitez: Work to be done

Benitez: Work to be done

Chelsea will be desperate to get their Premier League campaign back on track, but face an Aston Villa side in fine form at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

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The Blues have been well off the boil since November, with last weekend's 3-1 result against Sunderland their first victory in their last seven league matches.

Rafael Benitez's men also saw their Club World Cup aspirations come to an end in the final against Corinthians, although the west London giants did manage to book their place in the Capital One Cup semi-finals with a 5-1 thrashing of rivals Leeds United on Wednesday.

However, the European champions currently find themselves seven points behind second-placed Manchester City in the league, and a further six off the pace of leaders Manchester United.

The Villans, meanwhile, have not lost any of their last six matches in all competitions, a run which included a 4-1 win over Norwich in the League Cup quarter-finals, while they also saw off Liverpool 3-1 in the league last weekend.

That run of results has lifted Paul Lambert's men to 14th in the standings, but they are still only three points clear of the relegation zone with 17 league matches having been played already.

On the team front, Chelsea are set to welcome Gary Cahill back from suspension, although John Terry and Daniel Sturridge miss out with knee and hamstring strains respectively while John Obi Mikel is serving a ban.

The visitors, meanwhile, will be hopeful Gabriel Agbonlahor has fully recovered from injury, but Richard Dunne (groin), Ron Vlaar (calf) and Gary Gardner (knee) are definitely out, while Darren Bent is nursing a hamstring problem.

Posted: 21/12/12 11:55

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