Aston Villa resume their Premier League season with arguably the most difficult task they could have been posed with - a trip to the European champions.
Both teams head into the game having drawn their last respective matches before the international break though Thomas Tuchel’s men do still remain unbeaten.
Four points from nine isn’t the return many claret and blue fans would have been hoping for or even expecting when they were handed the fixture list but it’s still very much a building process down at Villa Park.
That transition can’t last forever though and now is the time for Smith’s men to show what they can do against one of the big dogs. Chelsea will provide a really solid benchmark as to what this Villa side are capable of.
When is the game?
Villa travel to Stamford Bridge on Saturday in a 17:30 kick-off. It is the last of eight Premier League games that are back in action this weekend.
Where can I watch it?
If you’re not one of the 3,000 making your way to West London, the game will be shown live on Sky Sports with build up beginning at 17:00.
Both sides will be missing key players due to the rules surrounding international travel. Thiago Silva will be the one affected on the Chelsea side of things whilst Villa will have ever-present goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez and Emi Buendia absent. Martinez being unavailable means it’s likely that Jed Steer will start only his third ever Premier League game in the Villa sticks, 2,302 days after playing in his first.
Aston Villa: LWWD
Chelsea have only conceded one goal so far in the Premier League and that came in the form of a Mohamed Salah penalty in their 1-1 draw at Anfield.
Villa go into the game having scored 11 goals from their opening four fixtures (including Carabao Cup) so will fancy their chances of denting that impressive defensive record.
Chelsea have a much more favourable record when it comes to head-to-head competition between the two.
In their last 10 Premier League fixtures, Villa have won two to Chelsea’s seven with one draw.
Smith’s side will take confidence in the fact that they did go unbeaten against the Blues in the 20/21 campaign, though. A 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge in December was followed up by an impressive 2-1 victory at Villa Park on the final day of the campaign.
Other ways to keep up to date
BBC Radio 5 Live and Talksport will both have full match commentary of the game and Birmingham World’s @benaramsdale will be providing live updates via Twitter for those that have to sneak off from work to check their phones.