Watford v CHELSEA: Preview

Date: Monday 5th February, 2018

Venue: Vicarage Road

Kick-off: 20:00 GMT

 

 

 

After a weekend of media crowing over Sanchez and Kane, the Monday night game sees us travel to Watford so that they can crow over Troy Deeney – and after the Bournemouth game, I don’t necessarily say that in jest.

Chelsea were woeful in the last game against Bournemouth, although that’s what happens when you loan out your back up striker on the day of a game – he goes on to score a brace for Dortmund whilst you get the battering decisions like that deserve. Of course we’ve replaced him with Olivier Giroud, which could reasonably be regarded as a good thing, if it wasn’t for Antonio Conte’s concerns that someone at the club forgot to give our new striker his Sea Bands for the car trip over from the Emirates. So, whilst Giroud is likely to start on the bench at best, I suspect Emerson Palmieri won’t even make it that far, with Conte making it known he is coming back from a ‘bad’ injury. Looking on the bright side though, at least our third new signing of the window is fighting fit……..oh.

As for our opponents, well Watford genuinely do have problems with injuries (not that I’m suggesting ours aren’t genuine Alvaro) but given the shambles we looked against Bournemouth and the subsequent pressure from the press, they’ll unlikely to be the one’s viewing this fixture with dread.

 

MANAGER’S VIEWS

Watford head coach Javi Gracia says “I’m excited. I’m looking forward to it and I’m going to make sure I enjoy it.  I always prepare a match like we’ll win. When I’m in the office and I move the players, I win. It’s my attitude and I’m positive.  I’m always stressed and I don’t mind what anyone else thinks. I always want to win and it is always the same pressure. It doesn’t matter what club we play against.”

Meanwhile, whilst the press insists he’ll lose his job if we don’t win tonight, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte says “From the start of this season there has been a lot of speculation and rumours around me.  The only thing I can tell you now is I still have 18 months of my contract with Chelsea and my will, my desire, is to stay here, continue my work. This is my will. I don’t see problems about this.  If I see there is no pressure, it’s no good for me or the players. When the situation is too calm, you risk being relaxed and to lose the anger, the fire. I like to live with this pressure.”

 

SQUAD NEWS

For Watford, Heurelho Gomes (back) and Younes Kaboul (foot) are doubtful, whilst Miguel Britos (ankle), Kiko Femenia, Will Hughes (both hamstring), Isaac Success, Craig Cathcart, and Nathaniel Chalobah (all knee) all remain unavailable.

For Chelsea, Andreas Christensen and Ross Barkley (both hamstring) miss out through injury. Alvaro Morata (back) also remains out. Willian (hamstring) and David Luiz (ankle) are possibilities to feature after injuries and new signing Olivier Giroud is likely to start on the bench.

 

TEAMS

WATFORD (Possible line-up): Karnezis; Mariappa, Prodl, Kabasele, Holebas; Cleverley, Doucoure; Deulofeu, Capoue, Richarlison; Deeney

CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro

 

LAST SEASON

Watford 1-2 Chelsea (20 August 2016)

 

RECENT FORM (ALL)

WATFORD: DLLDWL

CHELSEA: LWLWWD

 

OTHER STUFF

~ Chelsea are unbeaten in 13 matches against Watford in all competitions since 1999.

~ Watford have taken just six points from 12 games since late November.

~ Watford have the worst home record in the top flight, with 13 points from 12 matches

~ Watford have dropped 16 points from winning positions this campaign, the most in the division.

~ Chelsea’s 50-point tally after 25 games this season is 10 fewer than at this stage last season

~ Chelsea have won only two of their nine competitive matches in 2018.

 

PREDICTION

BBC Sport: Watford 0-2 Chelsea

Sky Sports: Watford 1-3 Chelsea

TheHardTackle: Watford 1-2 Chelsea

 

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