The fixture against Watford can’t come soon enough for Chelsea who were shocked in front of their own fans this past midweek when they took on Bournemouth. While very few predicted an upset win for the Cherries, it’s unlikely anyone saw a 0-3 scoreline in favour of Eddie Howe’s side.
Watford will be hoping to bounce back themselves having failed to muster a win since December last year. In fact, the Hornets have managed to win just once in their last 12 Premier League games.
The last time Watford faced Chelsea, we witnessed a 6-goal thriller as the Blues managed to win 4-2. Fast forward a few months and the Hornets have a new manager while Chelsea are in a bit of a turmoil (they are never far from one, are they?).
Both the sides had a decent January transfer window though things could have been better. Watford’s biggest transfer in was Barcelona attacked Gerard Deulofeu whom the side brought in on loan. Chelsea, on the other hand, managed to rope in Olivier Giroud, Emerson Palmieri and Ross Barkley.
While everyone knows exactly what they’ll be getting from Giroud, Palmieri is a bit of an unknown quantity. Barkley, on the other hand, is finding it hard to get into the starting XI as Conte doesn’t really know his strongest position. To be fair, many of us are puzzled as to where he could thrive as well.
Both Giroud and Palmieri are coming off injuries, so it’s unlikely we’ll see them in the starting XI. Giroud could, however, make the bench as Conte will want him to get a few minutes late on in the game. Alvaro Morata is still nursing a back injury.
Conte has a few worries at the back as well considering Andreas Christensen, one of the more consistent defenders for Chelsea this season, will miss the clash owing to a hamstring issue. The positive news is Willian could be back for the game.
Watford have a long injury list themselves and will be without the services of Heurelho Gomes, Kiko Femenia, Miguel Britos and Will Hughes.
Watford probable XI: Karnezis; Mariappa, Kabasele, Prodl, Holebas; Cleverley, Capoue, Doucoure; Deulofeu, Deeney, Richarlison
Chelsea probable XI: Courtois; Moses, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill, Alonso; Kanté, Bakayoko, Willian, Pedro; Hazard
Odds and likely outcome
Chelsea usually bounce back after a bad result and expect the same at Vicarage Road. Having said that, it could be a close game.