After registering a 2-1 victory over West Ham in their first game, Chelsea now travel to Vicarage Road on Saturday for another London derby.
The win over West Ham was a good start to Antonio Conte’s reign as Chelsea manager. He watched his side take control from the opening whistle and saw them get better as the game wore on. Despite conceding a goal against the run of play, his side showed plenty of grit and determination to come away with maximum points.
His next challenge is at Vicarage Road, where his side will take on Watford. After a creditable draw away from home against Southampton, manager Walter Mazzarri would be looking to win his first three points of the season. It will be a tough feat to accomplish, but the Watford players have every reason to be optimistic as they defied all odds with some breathtaking performances last season.
Probable Lineups and Tactics
Conte will likely deploy the same team he did a week ago against West Ham. N’Golo Kante looked impressive on his club debut and will start as the holding midfielder. Ahead of him, a midfield four of Eden Hazard, Nemanja Matic, Oscar and Willian will be looking to wreak havoc in and around the penalty area and create chances for Diego Costa up front.
For Watford, their club recording signing Issac Success is still recuperating from an injury and will not play a part in the game. Also, due to the suspension of Ben Watson, Adelene Guedioura is expected to start in the middle of the park. The lethal strike pairing of Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney are bound to keep the Chelsea defenders on their toes and it will be a challenge for Gary Cahill and John Terry to deal with their threat.
Watford will most likely field a three-man back line. As such, it will be crucial for Hazard and Willian to provide support to Costa through the middle. The battle between the three-man central midfield of both sides will certainly be intriguing, with Etienne Capoue and Kante set to tussle at the heart of midfield.
The Frenchman is certain to have a diversified role as he would have to track back to deal with the two-man attack Mazzarri is set to deploy. Cahill hasn’t been at his brilliant best, while Terry’s lack of pace could see Deeney and Ighalo come out on top in the final-third duel.
Hazard will be the biggest threat to the Hornets’ defence and the Belgian is expected to be closely marked by Watford defender Miguel Britos. Michy Batshuayi’s arrival from the bench could add a different dimension to Chelsea’s attack as they may go for two up front in the last half-hour of the contest.
- Chelsea have kept a clean sheet in 6 of their last 8 matches against Watford in all competitions.
- Chelsea are undefeated in their last 10 matches against Watford in all competitions (last defeat came in 1999).
- Antonio Conte has lost just one of his last 31 league games as a club manager (W28 D2).
- Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes has made the most saves (127) and penalty saves (3) in the Premier League since the start of 2015-16.
- Eden Hazard has scored five goals in his last six Premier League appearances.
Watford 1 – 3 Chelsea
Despite Mazzarri’s side playing an open and attacking brand of football, it is hard to see them pick up all three points here. Chelsea possess a host of big names in their side who could turn games around within the blink of an eye. Also with Hazard and Costa seemingly back to their scoring best, the Blues could run riot on Saturday.
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