All eyes on the Chelsea Women trying to beat Barcelona in the Champions League semifinals

All eyes on the Chelsea Women trying to beat Barcelona in the Champions League semifinals at Stamford Bridge, but the men are also playing tonight, and they’re kicking off shortly at Villa Park.

Mauricio Pochettino makes just a couple changes from the thrashing by Arsenal, including Chalobah coming in at right back. And it’s a bench full of kids from the Academy.

This one’s pretty much an afterthought, perhaps even for those actually involved in it. Mauricio Pochettino sort-of, kind-of semi-assured us that we haven’t actually given up on the season yet.

Except he didn’t do that; he just said that playing for Chelsea should be motivation enough to get up for any game. That may have been true once. But on the evidence of the last couple seasons, that’s not the case anymore.

Aston Villa team news: Villa are in good form at the moment, with four wins on the bounce in all competitions including a 2-0 win over Arsenal to solidify their hold on fourth place in the Premier League. The last time they finished in the top-four was 1997.

They’re also still alive in Europe (the last Premier League team standing) having reached the Europa League semifinals — their first European semifinal since 1982.

Unai Emery sure loves the Europa League (though the one time out of five that he lost the final was when he played against us with Arsenal in 2019) and only Pep Guardiola has more wins in European competitions since 2009 than Emery.

All that is to say that Emery has done a wonderful job at Villa, which makes our 3-1 win in the FA Cup here back in February all the more shocking.

Villa will be without Nicolò Zaniolo and Alex Moreno, who are dealing with minor injuries, and Tyrone Mings, Emiliano Buendía, and Boubacar Kamara, who are dealing with long-term issues. Jacob Ramsey has also been shut down for the season after a recurrence of a toe problem. Douglas Luiz returns from a two-match suspension for yellow card accumulation.

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