On Sunday afternoon, Chelsea travel to Villa Park in the hope of bridging the gap between themselves and league leaders Manchester City.
The Blues are currently winless in their last two Premier League games, with both Everton and Wolves managing to take a point off Thomas Tuchels men, so nothing short of a win on Boxing Day will be deemed good enough.
But it will certainly not be an easy game as new manager Steven Gerrard has already got the Villans playing an attractive attacking brand of football.
Since arriving in the West Midlands, Gerrard has managed four wins in six games, with only Manchester City and Liverpool managing to take maximum points off them.
But there is the possibility that many first-team players could become unavailable due to the COVID-19 situation at the club.
Aston Villa’s home fixture last Saturday against Burnley was postponed just hours before kick-off due to a surge in cases within the camp.
Despite this, Gerrard is expecting the game against Chelsea to go ahead but did hint that he may be forced into selecting fringe players or exciting prospects from the academy.
“At the moment we’ve got enough to play and I expect the game to go ahead,” Gerrard said
“I hope it goes ahead. It’s a game we’re very much looking forward to. But in terms of the Covid picture and the situation here at Villa, it’s changing on a daily basis, so it’s very unpredictable and hard to cope.
“I’m in a situation where, depending on how it goes in the next two to three days, that we might have to call upon players who are on the fringe, or players from the academy.”
With regards to who has been confirmed unavailable ahead of Sunday’s clash, Leon Bailey, Bertrand Traore, David Trezeguet and Marverlous Nakamba are all ruled out of action, with the latter sustaining a long term injury that will see him spend time on the sidelines for the next three months.
As it’s not clear as to which first-team starters are in doubt, Chelsea will be preparing for the worst-case scenario and attempting to nullify the qualities of their star men, one of which is Jacob Ramsey.
The 20-year-old has been a regular starter for Gerrard since the former Liverpool legend took over and scored an excellent solo goal in Villa’s most recent win against Norwich at Carrow road.
His ability to link up with striker Ollie Watkins will be a dynamic that Chelsea must contain, particularly on the counterattack.
It’s expected that Gerrard will also retain the 4-3-3 that has been utilised, with Douglas Luiz operating at the base of a midfield trio.
Possible Aston Villa starting XI (4-3-3): Emiliano Martinez, Matty Cash, Ezri Konsa, Tyrone Mings, Matt Targett, Douglas Luiz, John McGinn, Jacob Ramsey, Emi Buendia, Ollie Watkins, Ashley Young