Chelsea will be looking to bounce back from their last-minute defeat to West Ham when they take on Watford in the Premier League.
Stamford Bridge, Fulham, England
Key Stat: Watford have only won one of their last 17 matches against Chelsea in all competitions.
Expert Verdict: Chelsea suffered a late - and surprising - defeat to West Ham last time out to end their winning streak but the Blues go into this match as favourites to bounce back. West Ham’s win was bad news for Watford and they could be in bigger trouble after this game too.
Christian Pulisic was passed fit last time out as Chelsea fielded a near full-strength team. With a tight turnaround, and after that defeat, Jorginho, Kurt Zouma, Mason Mount and maybe even Billy Gilmour could all come into the team this time.
Tammy Abraham – Still looking to get back to goalscoring ways, but one of his 13 league goals this season was against Watford.
Willian – Two more goals in the defeat to West Ham means he has five goals in his last six games for Chelsea, either side of lockdown.
Christian Pulisic – Terrorised Manchester City with his pace and he netted when these teams last met in the Premier League too.
Chelsea’s five-game winning streak was ended in stoppage time by West Ham last time out, despite Willian having scored twice in an eventual 3-2 loss. They had previous won all three matches since their return to action, including a 2-1 win against Manchester City in which Willian netted a penalty and a 1-0 victory at Leicester in the FA Cup quarter-final.
Defenders:Reece James, Antonio Rudiger, Kurt Zouma, Marcos Alonso
Midfielders:Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Mason Mount
Forwards:Willian, Tammy Abraham, Christian Pulisic
Watford’s injury list is unchanged with Isaac Success, Gerard Deulofeu and Daryl Janmaat all long-term absentees. Last weekend’s heavy defeat could prompt a rethink, with Jose Holebas, Christian Kabasele, Adrian Mariappa and Tom Cleverley among those looking to step off the bench. Andre Gray may be back in contention after missing the Saints game as a result of him breaking lockdown restrictions.
Troy Deeney – The Watford captain is going to be imperative to the Hornets’ hopes of survival and he needs to start firing up front.
Ismaila Sarr – Six goals and four assists, including the headlines in the win against Liverpool – if those fleeting moments become more consistent, he will be key.
Ben Foster – The experienced goalkeeper has a hugely important role to play in this relegation battle, starting with trying to keep Danny Ings out.
Watford now have just one win in their last 11 games in all competitions, with their bad run of results continuing with last weekend’s 3-1 defeat to Southampton. After a 1-0 loss to Burnley in the previous game, the Hornets slid to a miserable home defeat – an own goal only briefly giving them hope.
Defenders:Adrian Mariappa, Christian Kabasele, Craig Dawson, Jose Holebas
Midfielders:Will Hughes, Etienne Capoue
Attacking Midfielders:Ismaila Sarr, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Tom Cleverley
Watford have won one of their last 17 matches in all competitions against Chelsea, and they have lost three in a row since that 4-1 home win. That includes a 3-0 loss when they last met at Stamford Bridge last season and a 2-1 defeat at home in November. Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic put the Blues in front and Gerard Deulofeu’s penalty could not prevent a 13th defeat in those 17 matches. Here are the results of their last five matches:
Nov 02, 2019: Watford 1-2 Chelsea
May 05, 2019: Chelsea 3-0 Watford
Dec 26, 2018: Watford 1-2 Chelsea
Feb 05, 2018: Watford 4-1 Chelsea
Oct 21, 2017: Chelsea 4-2 Watford
Chelsea’s excellent form ended last time out but the Blues go into this game as big favourites to bounce back.
Their record against Watford is excellent anyway, and the Hornets’ form does not bode well going into this game.
The 3-0 win against Liverpool may be notable for being the Reds’ only league defeat of the season before lockdown, but it is also Watford’s only win in 11 games in all competitions.
Nigel Pearson’s side have just one point to their name since lockdown and the form they had previously built up has completely evaporated.
Chelsea’s loss to West Ham hurt the Hornets too, as the Hammers leapfrogged them in the table, and it could hurt them doubly if they face a Chelsea backlash in this game.
Realistically, the Blues have played far better lately than they showed in that game. Willian is scoring goals but Christian Pulisic has been in good form too and Tammy Abraham remains a potent threat.
Abraham will be desperate to get back to goalscoring ways and, having seen the way Watford leaked goals against Southampton, this looks an excellent opportunity.
Chelsea suffered a blip last time out – and it is a blip that puts their Champions League qualification bid back under pressure – but it should be no more than that.
This is a big opportunity for Frank Lampard’s side to bounce straight back.
Chelsea are big odds-on favourites to beat Watford and can be backed at a best price of 4/9 to win with Ladbrokes.
With Watford in poor form, you can bet against both teams to score at 10/11 with Bet365 – Chelsea will be keen to tighten up again after their last defeat.
Nevertheless, over 2.5 goals will return a best price of 8/11 with Bet365.
Tammy Abraham is evens to score at any time with Betway, while Olivier Giroud is a best price of 5/4 with 888sport.
Chelsea were in excellent form before defeat to West Ham and, with Watford in poor form, this is a big chance to bounce back.