Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel confirmed Romelu Lukaku is fit to face Aston Villa on Saturday but remains unsure on the availability of Thiago Silva.
The Blues have lost just one of their last 16 home meetings with Villa and will have their star forward to call upon at the weekend.
Lukaku, who is in search of his first goal at Stamford Bridge in his 11th appearance, had suffered a knock with Belgium but Tuchel declared the striker fit on Friday.
However, Tuchel could not confirm the availability of Silva, who could be suspended by FIFA after Brazil retaliated following Premier League clubs not allowing their South American players to travel amid quarantining fears.
“Thiago (Silva) isn’t officially out,” Tuchel explained. “The chairman is still in talks. I’m waiting for the final decision. We will take the latest decision tomorrow morning.”I don’t understand it and it makes no sense from whatever side you look.
“Did it make sense for Brazil? No. Did it make sense for us? No, because he may not be able to play two matches.”
Villa head coach Dean Smith will also be without Argentina stars Emi Buendia and Emiliano Martinez as they are forced to quarantine on their return to the green-listed United Kingdom.
Smith, however, confirmed the return of Ollie Watkins, Leon Bailey and John McGinn as he heaped praise on Saturday’s opponents.
“They are a fantastic team with a fantastic coach, it’s going to be a very tough game,” the 50-year-old said.
Smith’s men then face Everton, Manchester United and Tottenham as part of a grueling top-flight schedule but he insisted they are looking forward to the challenge.
“It’s a great month because it’s an opportunity for us to show everyone what we’re about,” Smith concluded.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Chelsea – Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku has scored in each of his last five Premier League appearances against Aston Villa, netting six goals in total in this run.
Aston Villa – Danny Ings
Danny Ings has been involved in eight goals in his last nine Premier League starts (6 goals, 2 assists), registering a goal involvement in all three of his appearances for Aston Villa so far (2 goals, 1 assist).
KEY OPTA FACTS
-Since Thomas Tuchel’s first game in charge of Chelsea, only Manchester City (51) have won more Premier League points than the Blues (45 – W13 D6 L3). The Blues also have the meanest defence in that run (excluding the promoted sides) with just 14 goals conceded.
-Aston Villa won three of their six Premier League games in London last season (D1 L2), as many victories as they’d managed in their previous 29 top-flight games in the capital (W3 D4 L22).
-Chelsea have won 599 Premier League games (D274 L244) and would become the second team to reach 600 in the competition with victory here (Manchester United, 689).
-Only Manchester City (1.4) have a lower xG against figure than Aston Villa (2.3) in the Premier League this season, though that means the Villans have conceded around two goals more than would be expected based on the quality of chances they’ve faced.
-Two of Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel’s three Premier League defeats have been in home games, with the other coming away against Aston Villa. The last Chelsea boss to lose consecutive league games against the Villans was Bobby Campbell in 1990.