Aston Villa gears up to face Chelsea

After scoring seven second-half goals to overturn a 3-1 halftime deficit, Aston Villa should have no reason to be scared of Chelsea.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:49 IST
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After scoring seven second-half goals to overturn a 3-1 halftime deficit, Aston Villa should have no reason to be scared of Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday. But those seven goals were against Wycombe Wanderers. David O'Leary's team trounced the League Two side 8-3 in a League Cup game on Tuesday after he had given his players a tough halftime team talk. Now he has to do something similar before the players run out at Stamford Bridge. With Chelsea six points ahead in the title race and aiming to stretch its winning start to seven games, Villa has a tough job. Attacking game But O'Leary pledges his team will continue to attack at Stamford Bridge rather than copy other teams who have gone there to concentrate on defense. "We will go there and try to play the football that we believe in. We will take the game to Chelsea and give it our best shot," the former Arsenal defender said. "I believe in an attacking style of play where we move the ball well and create chances. "I have seen teams play very frustrating systems but I can only take care of what I preach. The way we play is the way we train. We might not win games at times but I think people go away saying Aston Villa try to play good football." Unimpressive record Despite the second half goalscoring onslaught at Wycombe, Villa's record so far isn't impressive. O'Leary's players were beaten 4-0 at West Ham 11 days ago and then held 0-0 at home by Tottenham. They have scored five times in six Premier League outings. Chelsea hasn't given up a goal in six league games and a Champions League victory. O'Leary has to decide which of his strikers to field at the home of the English champion. Recently signed Czech star Milan Baros has joined Kevin Phillips and Colombian striker Juan Pablo Angel, but only two will start. By contrast, Jose Mourinho has to choose who doesn't even make it to the bench. Unhappy players? With so many players in the squad, there have been murmurings from Stamford Bridge that some players aren't happy with Mourinho's system of rotating them. Defender Ricardo Carvalho was heavily fined and dropped after talking about it to a Portuguese newspaper. For goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini, who arrived at Chelsea three years before owner Roman Abramovich took over in 2003, it is especially tough being No. 2 to Petr Cech. But he says he is happy to stay. "Being a goalkeeper can be hard and it is very different to every other position in the team," the Italian said. "If there are two midfielders they can both play at various times but being a 'keeper is not like that and unfortunately there can only be one. I have to deal with it. "The hardest thing about it is that being a goalkeeper is about concentration and it is hard to keep that level of concentration when you don't play so often. I'm training hard with Lenny Pidgeley and Petr but it is not the same as playing," said Cudicini, who was first choice before Cech joined a year ago. "It could have been hard to keep working in training. But the people at the club all said the right things to make me want to keep doing it." (AP)