Watford vs Chelsea – Predicted line-ups
Watford host Chelsea at the Vicarage Road Stadium in the Barclays Premier League and it will be the first time the Blues take the field after captain John Terry’s shocking announcement that he will be leaving the club at the end of this campaign. Chelsea and Watford played out a feisty 2-2 draw on Boxing Day and this match promises to be nothing short of a thriller.
Chelsea are yet to lose a game under interim boss Guus Hiddink and the visitors will be looking to extend that run to 10 games when they take on the Hornets who would like to build on back-to-back wins themselves.
In the last round of matches, Chelsea had a memorable trip to the Emirates as they overcame a strong Arsenal side while Watford ended a run of four consecutive losses when they beat Newcastle 2-1.
Owing to Chelsea’s dismal start to the season, the reigning Champions are currently placed 13th in the Premier League table while their opponents are 4 points ahead in 10th. The kick-off is scheduled at 7:45 BST (1:15 a.m. IST) on the 3rd of February 2016.
Both teams fielded depleted sides for the FA Cup ties in the weekend and many first-team players are expected to make a comeback to the starting XI. January signings may turn out for their new teams.
Kurt Zouma and Cesar Azpilicueta are expected to come back to the starting XI while midfielder Willian is a doubt for the game after he picked up an injury in the FA Cup tie. Eden Hazard is expected to make a first Premier League start in a month and winger Pedro is also expected to start for the Blues. New recruits Alexandre Pato and Matt Miazga are unlikely to take the field although the latter may find a place on the bench.
Watford made 7 changes for the game against Nottingham Forest and we can expect wholesale changes from that team for this tie. New signing Mario Suarez is expected to make his Premier League debut in this game.
Watford: Heurelho Gomes; Miguel Britos, Juan Paredes, Craig Cathcart, Nathan Ake; Jose Manuel Jurado, Valon Behrami, Ben Watson,Etienne Capoue; Troy Deeney, Odion Ighalo;
Chelsea: Thibaut Courois; Cesar Azpilicueta, John Terry, Kurt Zouma, Branislav Ivanovic; Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas, Oscar, Pedro, Eden Hazard; Diego Costa;
Odion Ighalo vs John Terry: Hornets striker Ighalo has been in great form this season and the 3rd highest goalscorer in the Premier League has netted 7 times in his last 7 games at Vicarage Road. John Terry will have his hands full with Ighalo and his strike partner in good goalscoring form.
Diego Costa vs Craig Cathcart: Diego Costa has suddenly found form under Guus Hiddink and Chelsea will be hoping that Costa will be among the goals for them tomorrow. Watford on the other hand would hope that Cathcart can help them keep a first clean sheet in 7 Premier League games.
- The Hornets’ last win against the Blues was a 1-0 victory on 18 September 1999
- The Blues have won seven and lost none of the last nine matches against the Hornets in all competitions.
- Odion Ighalo has scored seven goals in his last seven Premier League matches at Vicarage Road.
- Of the 27 top-flight goals Watford have scored this season, 20 have been scored by Ighalo or Troy Deeney.
- The Hornets have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last six top-flight matches.
- Victory would see the Blues win back-to-back Premier League games for the first time since winning the title in May 2015.
Prediction: Chelsea are unbeaten in the last 9 and I can’t see any reason why they won’t make it 10. Watford on the other hand would want to capitalise on a great first-half of the season and consolidate their position in the top of the table. With strikers on both sides in devastating form, we can expect a goal-fest.
Watford 2 – Chelsea 3.