After being left disappointed against United, Chelsea have the chance to make an instant response against Watford midweek. This should be a comfortable match for Chelsea if you go by league positions, but it feels like a crucial game for the Blues. Things haven’t been going great for Chelsea off the pitch recently, with the various contract situations and injury issues, so a big three points would do a lot to just ease tensions and get things back on track.
History would suggest that Chelsea don’t have much to worry about though. They have won seven of their last eight games against the Hornets and have only lost once since the turn of the century. The match is also away, which could prove to be a blessing disguise for Thomas Tuchel’s side. They have at times struggled to win matches at home but the away form has been stellar. Still, the Premier League is unpredictable and there is never any room for complacency.
Regarding injury news, both teams have some major problems going into this one. For Chelsea, N’Golo Kante, Ben Chilwell and Mateo Kovacic are still injured, while Reece James, Jorginho and Timo Werner are reportedly doubts after picking up knocks against United. Tuchel also revealed that Andreas Christensen is not currently playing due to his contract standoff with the club, making him a doubt as well.
For Watford, they have an injury list that seemingly goes on forever. Etebo, Sema, Foster, Sarr, Sierralta, Baah, Nkoulou and Kucka are all out with various problems and won’t play. Dennis and Masina are also doubts, leaving Watford with Ranieri with a real selection headache.
This could be an interesting game. On paper Watford are in big trouble, but this also means they have nothing to lose. This kind of opposition can be really dangerous and as a result, it would be foolish to expect an easy game. Chelsea needs to be switched on and ready for a tenacious Watford side.
Ahead of the match, some of the writers at The Chelsea Social have shared their predictions:
Watford vs Chelsea (@RJ_Goodthings)
Chelsea will be looking to bounce back from their highly disappointing draw against the struggling Red Devils when they take on the Hornets at Vicarage Road in Matchweek 14 of the Premier League.
The Blues have generally been performing very strongly but their recent 1-1 results against Manchester United and Burnley have caused Chelsea fans to scratch their heads in frustration. Despite dominating in both of those clashes, Tuchel’s men failed to convert their superiority into goals and ultimately that gave their opponents belief that they could get something from playing us. And they did.
Chelsea take on a 17th placed Watford who have experienced a bit of a roller-coaster few weeks. In their past 5 games, the Golden Boys have secured big wins over Everton (5-2) and Manchester United (4-1) but have also lost 1-0 to both Arsenal and Southampton and 4-2 last time out against Leicester. Which Watford team will turn up against Chelsea is anyone’s guess!
From a player availability perspective, Tuchel confirmed the absence of the star trio in N’Golo Kanté, Mateo Kovacic and Ben Chilwell while expressing some doubts over Jorginho, Reece James and Timo Werner will be able to take part. The good news is Romelu has continued to train with the squad and will likely again get more minutes against the Hornets as part of his reintegration back into the team. That said, the fresh set of injury concerns could see a substantially changed line-up and one which may experience some cohesion challenges. Let’s hope that’s not the case.
Another intriguing sub-plot that’s evolving is the latest contract situation involving Andreas Christensen. Until the club and himself apparently resolve their stand-off, his absence could be prolonged indefinitely. Hopefully they find a solution soon given the set of fixtures on the horizon.
With that in mind, I would select the following line-up for the Blues to take on United: Mendy, Rudiger, Silva, Chalobah, Alonso, James, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek, Hudson-Odoi, Havertz, Mount. I would also look to bring on Lukaku, Pulisic, and keep a sub for insurance e.g. Azpilicueta/Saul or Ziyech/Werner.
Given our very narrow lead at the top of the Premier League ladder, it is imperative we quickly get back to winning ways and recapture our ruthlessness! Come on Chelsea!
Prediction: Watford 0 – 2 Chelsea
Maria Dulce (@usernamedulce)
After the disappointing draw against Manchester United over the weekend, the gap between the lead position in the table to Manchester City and Liverpool has just turned into something to watch out for. Considering the bigger picture, facing Watford cannot be a missed opportunity to hold on to our position in the table.
Realistically, Chelsea should comfortably get the three points. The Hornets have not been in their best moment of the season at all. As a matter of fact, they have just gone down 4-2 in their clash against Leicester on Saturday. While Tuchel’s side has dropped points in the last match, the Blues should go back to winning ways – as the club still has the best away record in the league – and look for securing a lead in the game as early as possible.
Regarding the squad, it would certainly be interesting to have Mason Mount back as a starter, as this might be a convenient moment to rotate the attacking trio. In addition to Mount, Lukaku having more minutes would also be a pertinent change – particularly in order to minimize the possibility of dominating the game and yet still don’t convert the possession into goals.
Furthermore, this could also be a good chance for Thiago Silva to rest and throw Andreas Christensen back into the mix. Thus, I expect it to be an opportunity to bounce back from the last result in a reassuring way. Up the Chels!
Prediction: Watford 0 – 2 Chelsea
Rey Stevinho (@Rey_Blues30)
The cloud of uncertainty is growing bigger due to the doubts of several first team players. Chelsea could be without key figures in what should be a scrappy game away from home. Nevertheless, Chelsea is expected to win given their depth and quality.
My expectation for the match is that both teams will have their spells of chances but the possession will fall to Chelsea.
Watford will of course make the game physical and intense as they will be at home. I expect Watford to press in triggers and make life difficult when we have the ball.
Havertz and Mount could return to the lineup as well as Pulisic. This is a must win especially after our missed opportunity against Manchester United. My final prediction is a narrow win against the Hornets.
Prediction: Watford 0 – 1 Chelsea
Dan Hill (@idanknow05)
After a rather dispiriting 1-1 draw against a United team that was there for the taking, Chelsea head to Vicarage Road looking to maintain their impressive away form.
Presently, the Blues have the best away record in the league, only having conceded once in these matches so far too. Whether or not that has to do with their opponents’ increasing willingess to play against them at home is up for debate, but what isn’t is a need for the West London side to react in this match.
Having had the gap cut to just one point, a team that is desirous of an assault on the Premier League title can ill afford another patchy result.
With a number of injuries to contend with going into the clash, who Tuchel fields in midfield and whether or not Lukaku will be fit to take his place in the team.
Nevertheless, it appears that Watford concede goals for fun, and Chelsea certainly create enough chances to score goals. I would totally back Chelsea to win here and turn the page from the Man United match.
Prediction: Watford 0 – 2 Chelsea
Two teams struggling with injuries and the busy schedule face off at Vicarage Road on Wednesday night with both sides desperate for a win to get their respective aims back on track.
Watford, thanks to Norwich’s revival, now only find themselves three points clear of the drop and with key players Ismailia Sarr and Ben Foster out until next year things could slip away from them quickly if they fail to get a grip on the situation at hand.
Whereas Chelsea’s title charge hit a bump in the road on Sunday afternoon against old foes Manchester United and have been hit further with news that Jorginho and Reece James may be unavailable for this game. A win is needed to keep their spot at the top of English football’s top league.
This game will also see ex-Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri return to Stamford Bridge and if his side keep a clean sheet, he may reward them with more than a meal like he promised if they did so against Arsenal. However, a clean sheet looks optimistic for the Hornets even with the home backing and with Chelsea’s attack back to full strength a potentially long evening awaits them with Romelu Lukaku eyeing this as a perfect chance to get going again.
Prediction: Watford 0 – 2 Chelsea
Travis Flock (@Crossroads_CFC)
Chelsea come into the match against Watford off the back of a frustrating draw against Manchester United. Despite outplaying the Red Devils in all aspects of the match, the Blues had one error that led to Sancho scoring and were extremely inefficient in front of goal. This has become a worrying trend, but luckily Watford present hope that this can be reversed and help the squad get right again with a big win.
Watford won’t lie down and I expect this to be a closer match between the 2 teams in the first half. Chelsea are faced with an injury/fitness crisis in midfield, with Kovačić, Jorginho, and Kante all being doubts for this match. This will provide a chance for Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Saul, or perhaps other players to move into the base of midfield for this match. Either way, the collective will have to find chemistry to make the Blues winners on Wednesday.
The XI will be very interesting and I expect quite a shake up. My preferred XI and how I predict Chelsea might line up in the usual 3-4-2-1 with Mendy, Chalobah, Christensen, and Rudiger in defense. In the base of midfield I expect RLC to get another chance alongside Saul. The wide players will likely be Alonso and CHO, since both Chilly and James likely won’t play as it stands while writing this. Up front I predict the attackers will be Pulisic, Mount, and Lukaku.
Prediction: Watford 1 – 2 Chelsea
Written by CFCExtra (@CFCExtra)
Edited by Tom Coley (@tomcoley49)