Chelsea return to Stamford Bridge fresh from winning the Premier League title. A late goal from Michy Batshuayi gave the Blues a 1-0 win at West Brom on Friday, which saw them confirmed as champions. Having opened up a 10 point lead on Friday night, can they finish the season with that kind of advantage over Spurs? Antonio Conte is known for driving his sides on in meaningless games, having grilled his players ahead of the final Serie A game in 2014. Despite having the title won, Conte wanted to break the 100 points barrier. He tore into Gigi Buffon for taking his eye off the ball, and Juve won 3-0.
Expect Chelsea to head into this clash with Watford with a similar mentality. While they can’t hit 100 points this term, the Blues are on 87. Two victories would put them on 93, two shy of the Premier League record set by Jose Mourinho’s side in 2005. If they can finish with two victories, the champions will finish the season 43 points better off than last time around. That’s an incredible swing, and it would be a great way to finish a brilliant league campaign, before they lift the title against Sunderland on Sunday.
Team News: Expect changes after title party
Conte has guided Chelsea to the title thanks to a settled team selection, but that’s all about to change. By the look of the celebrations in the dressing room on Friday night, there could be a few players who aren’t ready to start this game. Diego Costa might need a little break, while a few of the stars should be rested with one eye on the FA Cup final later this month. It’s likely a few will sit out here and then the others get the weekend off, as Conte will still want a strong finish before the meeting with Arsenal. Hopefully John Terry can get on the field for his final two games in a Chelsea shirt.
Watford have a lengthy injury list for this game, with five players set to miss out. The Hornets are missing defenders Younes Kaboul and Craig Cathcart, while January signing Mauro Zarate is also injured. Roberto Pereyra is another forward player missing here, with those two Argentines both capable of easing Watford’s scoring worries. With those two out, the visitors could continue to struggle in the run in. The hosts are likely to set up in a 3-5-2 formation, which will be an interesting test for Conte’s 3-4-3 set up.
Due to this clash, Watford’s latest game was also brought forward to Friday. The Hornets lost 1-0 at Everton, as they continued a dismal run of form. It’s now four defeats in five for the side from Vicarage Road, having secured safety a while ago. They’re sat in 15th place with 40 points to their name, which means they’ve achieved their immediate aim of staying in the top flight.
However, the visitors don’t have a strong record on their travels to back them up here. They’ve now lost their last six away games, all without conceding a goal. They’ve got one of the worst away records in the division, averaging just 0.67 points per game. It’s easy to see why the Blues are such heavy favourites.
Chelsea v Watford Head to Head
The Blues left it late to beat Watford at Vicarage Road, with two goals inside the last 10 minutes seeing off the Hornets. The first of those goals came from Batshuayi – his only Premier League goal this season before that crucial strike on Friday. Last season these two shared a pair of draws during the Hornets’ first season back in the top flight, but that’s unlikely to be repeated here given the visitors’ awful record on the road this term.
- Watford 1-2 Chelsea, Aug 2016
- Watford 0-0 Chelsea, Feb 2016
- Chelsea 2-2 Chelsea, Dec 2015
- Chelsea 3-0 Watford, Jan 2015
- Chelsea 5-0 Watford, Jan 2010
- Chelsea to win to nil – 13/10 with BetVictor
- Chelsea to win 3-0 – 8/1 with Bet365
Chelsea are priced at 2/7 with Coral to take the points this weekend, while the draw is 5/1 with Sky Bet. Watford are 9/1 with Betfred to rain on the Blues’ parade this weekend, although their recent away form makes that pretty unlikely. While there are bound to be changes for the champions, we still see them being too strong for the Hornets. However, there’s obviously little value in backing the hosts at such short odds. There is value elsewhere in this one, and we believe we’ve found a couple of bets well worth backing.
We’ve detailed Watford’s poor recent away record, but they’ve been awful all season on their travels. With 12 defeats from 18, we can’t see anything but another away loss for the Hornets. They’ve managed just 12 goals away from Vicarage Road so far, and Stamford Bridge isn’t the place to go in order to add to that awful total. With little creativity on their travels, we can’t see Watford getting any joy against the Blues. After three straight wins to nil, we’re backing another clean sheet and victory for the champions. Given that Watford have lost to nil in six straight away, and in four of their last five games, 13/10 with BetVictor looks like a brilliant price.
We’re also backing Chelsea to win with a little more swagger than they did on Friday. The Blues have been in great scoring form at home, hitting at least three in four of their last six. Given how poor Watford have been of late, the Blues should be able to rack up a few more goals in this one. There’s plenty of attacking talent to come into the team, so we’re backing a 3-0 win for the champions at 8/1 with Bet365.