Chelsea suffered yet another setback as they threw away two points at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night. The Blues went from 2-0 up against Roma to 3-2 down in a crucial Champions League tie. They ultimately drew 3-3, which is still not a great return for the champions. Having dropped points to Manchester City and Crystal Palace in the league, that display has left fans somewhat unsettled. It’s been a tough couple of weeks for Antonio Conte’s team, with the manager clearly showing that these performances have got to him in his post-match press conferences.
Facing Watford is a tough test for a Chelsea side who are well below par, with the Hornets impressing under Marco Silva. The Portuguese boss has taken the Vicarage Road side in to the top four, and they currently set a place above Chelsea in the table. Having beaten Arsenal last weekend, Watford are going to be out for another scalp on Saturday. The question is, will they go out and push the Chelsea defence, or try to frustrate the hosts? Regardless of how they approach this game, there’s certainly a chance for the visitors to take advantage of Conte’s selection woes and his side’s current slump.
Team News: Defensive Concerns Leave Conte with a Puzzle
Chelsea are very clearly missing N’Golo Kante in midfield, his injury over the international break has led to two poor defensive displays. He’s such a unique player that he’s difficult to replace, with Conte playing David Luiz and Tiemoue Bakayoko in front of the defence against Roma. That system worked a treat with Kante and Bakayoko giving Cesc Fabregas support in the three man midfield, but his absence has been telling. The bad news for the Blues is that he’s missing here once again, leaving a big gap for Conte to fill. On the bright side, he finally has Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata fit to start together, which could be a very fruitful partnership.
Watford have leapt into the European spots thanks to some impressive squad depth, which marks them out from most of the league. They have so many options now that Troy Deeney has been relegated from indispensable captain to a man on the fringes, vying for a starting spot. As a result, predicting their team is tough. They are missing former Chelsea man Nathaniel Chalobah, who is suffering from a long-term injury after impressing in the early stages of his Watford career.
Watford’s only defeat of the season was a big one, as they lost 6-0 at home to Manchester City. Apart from that hammering they’ve been in great form, which has lifted them in to the Champions League places. Strangely, they’ve won four, drew three and lost two of their last nine matches, losing both of those to City by an 11-0 margin. Aside from those heavy losses, the Hornets have really impressed, having taken 10 points from four away trips so far.
Watford’s 2-1 win over Arsenal last weekend helped them earn even more plaudits, and it’s a result that will worry Chelsea. The Hornets hung in when Arsenal applied pressure, and they knew that they’d eventually be able to bully the Gunners. They won’t have the same ease of access past the Chelsea defence, but we expect Marco Silva to have worked out a way to make things difficult for the champions’ back four.
Chelsea v Watford Head to Head
Recent meetings between these two at Stamford Bridge have been high scoring, and this game could well go the same way. Watford have little reason to show fear, and going on the attack at Chelsea has brought them five goals in two trips, compared to the one point from two defensively minded meetings at Vicarage Road. If Silva is looking back on the recent meetings between the pair, it might encourage him to be more offensive than he was in his visit with Hull earlier this year.
- Chelsea 4-3 Watford, May 2017
- Watford 1-2 Chelsea, Aug 2016
- Watford 0-0 Chelsea, Feb 2016
- Chelsea 2-2 Watford, Dec 2015
- Chelsea 3-0 Watford, Jan 2015
- Both Teams to Score – 19/20 with Coral
- Over 3.5 Goals – 17/10 with BetVictor
Despite their recent struggles, the bookmakers have plenty of faith in Chelsea this weekend. The Blues are priced at 4/11 to take the points in this game. Despite the Blues’ problems of late, they’re 9/2 with Betfred to draw this game, while Watford are 7/1 with bet365 to claim all three points. The Hornets are priced at 27/10 with Coral to avoid defeat in this game, which we think is great value given the form of the respective sides. With Watford set to be full of confidence and with Kante out, we can’t help but see a tough game for the champions on Saturday.
With Chelsea shipping three goals at home in midweek, it’s hard to imagine them turning things around with a clean sheet here. Not all of the mistakes at the back are down to Kante’s absence, but his absence is a significant one. The champions have three clean sheets in their last 12 home league games, and after Wednesday night’s incredible game we can’t help but expect goals in this clash. We’re backing both teams to score in this game, and it looks like excellent value at 19/20 with Coral.
Watford come here having scored at least twice in their previous five Premier League away games, which shows the kind of threat they have up front. We are already expecting both teams to score, but the Hornets have scored at least twice in their last two trips to the Bridge, both of which have turned into thrilling games. Given how open Chelsea’s game with Roma ended up on Wednesday, we can see at least four goals being scored here, so we’re backing over 3.5 goals at 17/10 with BetVictor.