Michael Owen is not expecting Chelsea to secure the three points when they travel to Villa Park this weekend.
The BT Sport pundit has praised his former Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard for his work since he was appointed Villa manager last month, and he believes the Midlands club’s new-found confidence, combined with the Blues’ poor recent form, will lead to a stalemate:
“I’m delighted to see Steven Gerrard do so well at Villa. He’s a huge presence and a big character, he looks to have galvanised Villa. The likes of Watkins and McGinn are beginning to find their form again since he took charge. Villa aren’t far off the top eight and I wouldn’t rule them out for that.”
“Chelsea are in their worst form of the season and possibly since Thomas Tuchel took charge. With just one win in their last four, they find themselves six points off Man City, which even at this stage of the season, is a big hurdle. More dropped points for Chelsea will make it difficult to win the league. I can see this Villa side frustrating them and getting a point.”
Owen has gone with a 1-1 draw, which isn’t an entirely unfair prediction if we take into consideration how the two teams have been performing in recent weeks.
Villa won their last game against Norwich, and they also kept Liverpool at bay for lengthy periods at Anfield. With their match versus Burnley having to be postponed, they will have had almost a fortnight to prepare for the Boxing Day clash.
In contrast, Thomas Tuchel’s men have drawn their last two league games, whilst they were in action against Brentford in the Carabao Cup midweek too. This will, therefore, be a stern test of Chelsea’s title credentials.