Can Chelsea keep their place in the top four?

Last updated: February 3, 2018 by Leon Marshal

Game details

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Kick-off: Monday, 20:00
Venue: Vicarage Road
Coverage: Radio 5Live
Home Team Form: LLDLD
Away Team Form: WDDWL
Last Meeting: Chelsea 4 – 2 Watford
Competition: Premier League

A new manager has seen some stability return to Vicarage Road, while Chelsea were rocked by defeat in midweek to Bournemouth. The Blues dropped to fourth in the table after that loss and another defeat could see Tottenham take their place in the top four.

Javi Gracia helped Watford to a point in their last league game with the Hornets keeping their first clean sheet since the end of November. The manager also brought the welcome addition of Gerard Deulofeu to Vicarage Road, with the Spaniard featuring in the midweek draw with Stoke. Defensive stability was much needed at Watford, though hopefully not at the expense of attacking potency, as the team almost always managed to score at the other end. That will be the next job then, but it will be tough here; Chelsea have one of the best defences in the league so far this season. The Hornets have finally slipped outside of the top ten and it’s likely they will continue to slide as the battle to stay in the league hots up. There’s a mixed bag of fixtures coming up in the short term, but Watford really need to start winning games.

Chelsea will be glad to have January behind them. The Blues won just one of four league matches and exited the EFL Cup after a defeat in the semi-final to Arsenal. The Blues welcomed Olivier Giroud to the squad this week while parting ways with Michy Batshuayi. With Alvaro Morata likely still out, Giroud may start up front for Chelsea, should Conte decide not to play Eden Hazard as a false nine. Chelsea have had surprise defeats inflicted on them already this season and have bounced back, but the question is, can they do it again? Watford will be more difficult to break down than they have previously in this season, so Chelsea will need to improve going forward.

Team News

New signing Gerard Deulofeu started the last match against Stoke and should play again here.

Chelsea will likely be without Andreas Christensen after the defender went off injured for the third match in succession.

First choice goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes is still injured, meaning Orestis Karnezis will likely continue in goal.

Morata is likely to still be out, which means there could be a start for new signing Olivier Giroud.

Expected Line-Ups:

Watford (4-4-2): Karnezis, Janmaat, Mariappa, Kabasele, Holebas, Doucouré, Watson, Deulofeu, Carrillo, Gray, Richarlison
Subs: Prödl, Success, Sinclair, Zeegelaar, Okaka, Bachmann, Pereyra
Injured: Femenia, Britos, Kaboul, Cathcart, Hughes, Chalobah
Doubtful: Gomes, Cleverley, Deeney
Not available:
Chelsea (4-3-3): Caballero, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Rüdiger, Moses, Kanté, Bakayoko, Alonso, Barkley, Pedro, E Hazard
Subs: Drinkwater, Emerson Palmieri, Zappacosta, Giroud, Cahill, David Luiz, Eduardo
Injured: Willian, Morata
Doubtful: David Luiz
Not available:

So Far This Season

. . .
Watford So Far This Season Chelsea So Far This Season
11th League Position 4th
3 (4) Wins (away) 8 (7)
3 – 0 vs. Newcastle Biggest Win 4 – 0 vs. Everton
4 (2) Draws (away) 2 (3)
1 – 4 vs Man City Biggest Defeat 5 – 0 vs Stoke
Abdoulaye Doucouré (7) Top Goal Scorer Álvaro Morata (10)
Y41, R4 Discipline Y28, R3
6 Failures to Score 5
6 Clean Sheets 13
56% Both Teams to Score Games 36%
60% Over 2.5 Goals 52%
40% Under 2.5 Goals 48%
  • Despite their poor run of results, Watford usually manage to score, with just six failures to score in a game this year. However, two of those have come in the last two games.
  • Thirteen clean sheets for Chelsea is almost the best in the league. They could add to that tally here, as Watford are without a goal in their last two league matches.
  • Watford almost top the table for the worst discipline in the league, with over 40 yellow cards already.
  • Chelsea previously had six clean sheets in their last eight games, so Watford’s chances to score may be limited here.

Head to Head

Last Five Competitive Meetings Between The Sides
Date Game Result Round First Goal-scorer
21/10/2017 Chelsea 4 – 2 Watford Premier League Pedro 12′
15/05/2017 Chelsea 4 – 3 Watford Premier League Terry 22′
20/08/2016 Watford 1 – 2 Chelsea Premier League Capoue 55′
03/02/2016 Watford 0 – 0 Chelsea Premier League
26/12/2015 Chelsea 2 – 2 Watford Premier League Costa 32′

Conclusion & Betting Tips

Both teams failed to score in their last game, but failing to score is usually a rarity for both teams. Nevertheless, Watford have a new manager and are setting up more defensively, while Chelsea are currently without Morata.

We fancy a slow start to this game as Watford ensure they don’t lost the match in the opening minutes. For that reason, we think a low scoring first half is on the cards and will be going with under 1.5 first half goals, which you can get at Royal Panda.