After a pretty major Premier League slip-up this week, Chelsea have a chance to re-affirm their Champions League credentials this weekend when they face strugglers Watford. Nigel Pearson’s Hornets have not won a game since the season restarted, taking just one point from a possible nine. But they will be buoyed by the fact that fellow basement side West Ham United were able to defeat the Blues last night.
Frank Lampard’s side missed a chance to move into third place by slipping up against the Hammers. There can be no doubt that they’ll want to put that right by punishing Watford this weekend, pushing their fellow Londoners closer to relegation.
And so once again, the stakes will be high in this Premier League clash.
Chelsea vs. Watford Head-to-Head
The last game between these two sides took place in November and marked Watford’s 11th match without a win. Chelsea defeated the Hornets 1-2 at Vicarage Road, with goals from Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic sealing the points for Lampard’s men.
In the weeks that followed that loss, Watford replaced Quique Sanchez Flores with Nigel Pearson and appeared to have dragged themselves out of danger. But a poor run of form prior to lockdown – and since the restart – has left them in trouble again.
The Hornets have won just one of their last 10 games, and now sit just one point above the drop zone.
Chelsea’s loss to West Ham meanwhile was their first Premier League defeat in six games, breaking a three-match winning streak. Despite the loss, they remain ahead of the chasing pack in terms of Champions League qualification.
However, the form of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United and Nuno Espirito Santo's Wolves means they can ill afford to have another slip-up here.
Historically, Chelsea have beaten Watford on 20 occasions, with the Hornets coming out on top 10 times. There have been six draws between the two, but you have to go back to 2016 to find one.
Watford’s 4-1 win over Chelsea in February 2018 meanwhile is their only win over the Blues since the turn of the century.
Chelsea form guide: W-W-W-W-L
Watford form guide: W-L-D-L-L
Chelsea vs. Watford Team News
Frank Lampard can essentially call upon a full squad now, with a couple of exceptions.
Central defender Fikayo Tomori has yet to play following the season’s restart. He could be involved in the squad here but is unlikely to start. The same could be said for winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, who has been struggling with an ankle injury.
Doubtful: Fikayo Tomori, Callum Hudson-Odoi
After a breach of the UK’s current lockdown rules, Andre Gray, Nathaniel Chalobah and Domingos Quina were all left out of Watford’s squad for their last match. It’s unknown whether any of the trio will be restored for this game.
Injuries: Gerard Deulofeu, Daryl Janmaat
Doubtful: Isaac Success
Chelsea vs. Watford Predicted XI
Chelsea vs. Watford Prediction
After Chelsea’s disappointing loss to West Ham United, can Watford repeat the feat? In all honesty, it’s doubtful. That loss came in a game that the Blues dominated, with 71% possession and 17 shots on goal. On another day it could well have been a one-sided Chelsea win.
Watford’s form is simply too poor right now to imagine them springing an upset, and even if Chelsea find themselves in trouble, Lampard has enough firepower from the bench to change things around.
Given their disappointing showings in their last two games, I’d expect the Blues to come in fired up for this one – and take out their frustrations on the struggling Hornets.
Prediction: Chelsea 3-0 WatfordPublished 02 Jul 2020, 15:34 IST