Watford v Chelsea Match Preview (Premier League) – 20th August 2015

Can Chelsea make it two wins from two when they head to Vicarage Road on Saturday? After a late victory against West Ham on Monday evening, Antonio Conte leads his side to face the other Italian arrival to the Premier League, Walter Mazzarri. The new Blues boss will be more than keen to get one over his compatriot. He’ll be hoping for an easier time of things than his side experienced on Monday night.

Conte’s men had to grow into the game against the Hammers, but they eventually took the three points. While there were a few worrying moments in that display, there are encouraging signs. Any team who is prepared to fight until the very last moments for points has spirit, and that’s something Chelsea missed last term. The new boss is already making improvements.

There won’t be much call for Conte to switch approach from the last match. His switch from 4-1-4-1 to 4-4-2 may have changed the game, but don’t expect to see Michy Batshuayi on the pitch from the start. That’s a partnership that will likely be worked on, one which will bloom later on. For now, there’s little reason to tinker with this team.

Watford started off the season with a 1-1 draw at Southampton, which isn’t the worst result. They kept their strong forward line of Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney, lining up in a 3-5-2 formation. Chelsea didn’t have too many defensive problems on Monday, but their backline is starting to creek. Having started the past three seasons with the same four players, they look like they need some new blood.

Conte’s defence will be tested by Watford’s front two. Deeney may have come back from the break carrying a little weight, but he and Ighalo are Watford’s main threats. Playing against a front two will be a big test for Gary Cahill and John Terry, given how the pair performed last term. This year they have the bonus of N’Golo Kante protecting them.

The Frenchman was the only player to start against West Ham who wasn’t in the team on the opening day last term. While he was the only change, he signalled a different approach from Conte. Nemanja Matic played a box-to-box role in central midfield, while Oscar also dug in to defensive work in the middle of the park. That’s going to be needed to combat the work of Watford’s central midfield three.

Chelsea can expect a tough afternoon against the Hornets, going up against a defensively solid side with a strong front two. Conte is perfectly placed to deal with those problems, so we’re expecting a good display from the Blues. They drew 0-0 here last term under Guus Hiddink, there was little to report about that clash. This one could be similarly tight between two Italian coaches, but we’re backing the Blues to just edge it with a 1-0 victory.

LCN Verdict: Chelsea to win 1-0