By 90Min
February 05, 2018

Watford and Chelsea clash in the Premier League on Monday with both sides desperate for a good performance and a good result after recent turbulence at both London clubs.


Recent history and the Premier League table is likely to ensure nothing more than an away victory is on the cards, but a Watford win may be in the offing given Chelsea's recent embarrassing loss at home to Bournemouth and the unpredictability of England's top flight.

Chelsea v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League

Antonio Conte's side are desperate for a return to winning ways given the severity of their recent humbling against Bournemouth as they continue their pursuit of a Champions League finish, while Watford's new manager Javi Gracia will be looking for his first win in charge of the Hornets to cement their place in the Premier League's top 10.

Here's everything you need to know ahead of this all-London clash at Vicarage Road:


Classic Encounter


Chelsea v Watford - Premier League

Chelsea come into the game unbeaten in their last 13 meetings with Watford in all competitions, with 10 wins and 3 draws. This, however, could've been much different had Watford taken their chances when the two sides first met this season; with Richarlison missing an absolute sitter that would've put Watford 3-1 up at Stamford Bridge and that would surely have seen them head home with all three points.

This most recent match between the two London outfits, which ended in a come-from-behind 4-2 victory to Chelsea, will live long in the memory of everyone for the attacking prowess both sides showcased on the day.

Richard Heathcote/GettyImages

Pedro got Chelsea off to a blistering start firing in a beautiful shot past Heurelho Gomes and into the top corner after only 12 minutes, Chelsea created a fair few chances after that but couldn't find a second goal. Chelsea's inability to find the net again didn't go unpunished as Abdoulaye Doucoure volleyed Watford back level in first-half stoppage time.

Watford started the second-half exquisitely and scored their second goal when Richarlison, who was at the forefront of everything for Watford, set up former Juventus midfielder Roberto Pereyra to give Watford a 2-1 lead in the 49th minute. 

IAN KINGTON/GettyImages

At this stage, though niggly off the ball but purposeful with it, Watford were running Chelsea ragged and they would, in the end, regret not taking their chances as Richarlison missed from a few yards out at 2-1 up.

Antonio Conte then made a decision that swung the pendulum in Chelsea's favour, on came Michy Batshuayi and his sharp finish in the 71st minute put the game back into balance. An 87th minute Cesar Azpilicueta header gave Chelsea the lead and a stoppage-time lobbed finished from Michy Batshauayi secured the three points for the Blues. This result was welcomed by Chelsea as it ended a run of 3 games without winning; a similar situation dooms as the Blues prepare to face Watford in this, the return leg.


Key Battle


Abdoulaye Doucoure vs N'Golo KanteChelsea v Watford - Premier LeagueGames are won or lost in the midfield as it covers the largest part of the football pitch - luckily for Chelsea and Watford, they both have arguably two of the England top flight's best two midfield powerhouses.

In N'Golo Kante, the Blues certainly have a natural born fighter; every battle, tackle and blade of grass is won, dominated and run by the diminutive French international. Add this to his impressive passing stats and you surely have a player capable of winning you a football match, despite not necessarily popping up with the goals.

On the other side of the fence, if you will, Watford's Abdoulaye Doucoure possesses similar destroying attributes to his fellow Frenchman but with an added goal treat - something Chelsea know a lot about given he scored the equaliser when the two sides met in October - as a result, Doucoure is Watford's top goalscorer this season with 7 goals.

Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

If Kante manages to dominate Watford's midfield powerhouse, Chelsea would surely have the upper hand in this crucial fixture. Doucoure loves a forward driving run through the heart of the opposing team, but with Kante in his way, he surely will have a tough ask getting through his bighearted countryman.


Team News

Antonio Conte has a few concerns leading up to the match as young Danish centre-back Andreas Christensen and first choice striker Alvaro Morata are out with hamstring and back injuries respectively. Conte also confirmed that a few players will have fitness tests to check their availability ahead of the game.

On the plus side of things new signings Olivier Giroud and Emerson Palmieri trained with the first team throughout the week, but Conte confirmed that both will need time to get into Chelsea's way of play; add that to the return to training for Willian and Conte should have a reason or two to smile despite their stumbling recent form.

For Watford, Tom Cleverly will be assessed in the lead up to the game after the midfielder limped off during the Hornet's goalless draw at Stoke. Speaking at his pre-Chelsea press conference, Javi Gracia also confirmed that Heurelho Gomes, Craig Cathcart and Younès Kaboul are not yet ready to return.

Gracia also confirmed that Miguel Britos, Kiko Femenia and Will Hughes won't be available and that deadline day signing Didier Ndong will serve the final of his three-match suspensions.

Potential Watford Starting Lineup: Karnezis; Mariappa, Prodl, Kabasele, Holebas; Watson, Doucoure, Capoue; Richarlison, Deeney, Deulofeu.


Potential Chelsea Starting Lineup: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Fabregas, Hazard, Willian.


Prediction

Chelsea v Watford - Premier League

With Chelsea unbeaten against Watford in their last 13 meetings, and Watford's poor run of recent from, it's hard to argue against an away victory in Monday's contest.

To further dampen the Watford spirits, the Blues have been in excellent defensive form this season masking the second most clean sheets, 12, in the league. That defensive solidity added to Watford's fragility in the same area favours only one London side, and it's the one in Blue.


Prediction: Watford 0-2 Chelsea

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