Chelsea's Thomas Tuchel is prepared to chop and shove as the Blues visit Vicarage Road on Wednesday. (Photo credit: Sky Sports) Watfor...
|Chelsea's Thomas Tuchel is prepared to chop and shove as the Blues visit Vicarage Road on Wednesday. (Photo credit: Sky Sports)|
Watford vs ChelseaVicarage Road Stadium8:30pm
The first midweek instalment of the premier league got underway on Tuesday with key fixtures at the foot of the log, but our focus here is a potential banana peel for the leaders away at Vicarage Road.
Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw by Manchester United last weekend and it was a result that felt like a loss to the log leaders considering the dark clouds hovering over United and the need for the Blues to regain their three points lead after surrounding teams won their respective matches.
Watford would feel they deserved more than they got at the King Power Stadium against Leicester, losing 4-2 after such a strong performance didn’t sit well with Claudio Ranieri who returned to the stadium where he achieved the impossible, he’s up against another former club in Chelsea.
Watford took the scalp of Manchester United on this same ground, a 4-1 win that ended the days of Ole Gunnar Solksjaer at Old Trafford and they will continue to dream with Thomas Tuchel's side in town on Wednesday.
Watford have huge injury crisis to deal with, Goalkeeper Ben Foster, Ismaila Sarr and top scorer Emmanuel Dennis are both out of the fixture on Wednesday but Ranieri insists the bunch available will do their best to contain the visitors.
Chelsea will also have to assess their own top scorer as well as Reece James battle for fitness ahead of the trip to Watford, Ben Chilwell is a long term absentee but Timo Werner is available after starting his first game in a while against United and Romelu Lukaku is nearing full fitness after weekend cameo.
Chelsea need to win to help themselves to a strong position going into the busy December period; Liverpool and Manchester City are knocking on the top spot and dropping two points against Burnley and United already sounded warnings to the Blues.
How will Watford line up? The Hornets will not be too arrogant and as much as they can be expressive, they must also respect the quality in the Chelsea squad and stay compact, narrow when they’re without the ball and decisive when they have rare chances.
Chelsea will understand that only a win can suffice here as they’d risk losing their position at the top if they fail to get maximum points, Kai Havertz is fresh and could help off the striker as well as the returning Christian Pulisic.
Mason Mount only saw few minutes against the Red Devils, he should be fresh for this while Callum Hudson Odoi is expected to return on the left, but Hakim Ziyech is expected to start from the bench with Lukaku set to start upfront.
Watford haven’t gotten a point against Chelsea in any of their last four attempts but they did record a sensational 4-1 win over Antonio Conte’s Chelsea on the 5th of February 2018, they need to improve on the stats if they want to leave the 17th position they currently occupy.