STAR PREVIEW: Watford v Chelsea

We all had lots of wishes for Christmas – and hopefully many of them were granted – but we might get the present of goals as Watford take on Chelsea in tonight’s late Premier League game.

Under Maurizio Sarri Chelsea were not likely to do anything but unleash their attacking weapons and that was an extremely successful method in the early part of the season, with 28 points from the opening 12 games seeing them keep pace with Liverpool and Manchester City.

However defensive questions are still there and those issues at the back, combined with a lack of a functioning striker, have seen them slide to defeat in three of their last six games. Eden Hazard continues to be brilliant but he cannot do everything, even with help from Pedro and Mateo Kovacic and they missed a finisher up front in a shock 1-0 defeat to Leicester when they dominated the 90 minutes but fell to Jamie Vardy’s strike.

Watford also started strongly – they were in the top four after a month including a 2-1 win over Spurs – but they have had winless streaks of five and six matches this season. However, they are very much a top half side and they showed their quality with a fully deserved 2-0 win against a West Ham side that had won four on the bounce.

They rode out a great deal of pressure with Christian Kabasele and Ben Foster particularly resilient in making sure none of the hosts’ 18 shots broke through to the net although Javi Garcia’s side were clinical with their two main chances put away – Troy Deeney scored a penalty and Gerard Delofeu made it back to back goals with the second.

Watford v Chelsea
Premier League
19:30 Sky Sports Premier League / Sky 1 / Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Ultra HD

HEAD TO HEAD RECORD
(Maximum 10 matches)
FEB 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Watford 4-1 Chelsea
OCT 2017 PREMIER LEAGUE Chelsea 4-2 Watford
MAY 2017 PREMIER LEAGUE Chelsea 4-3 Watford
AUG 2016 PREMIER LEAGUE Watford 1-2 Chelsea
FEB 2016 PREMIER LEAGUE Watford 0-0 Chelsea
DEC 2015 PREMIER LEAGUE Chelsea 2-2 Watford
JAN 2015 FA CUP Chelsea 3-0 Watford
JAN 2010 FA CUP Chelsea 5-0 Watford
FEB 2009 FA CUP Watford 1-3 Chelsea
MAR 2007 PREMIERSHIP Watford 0-1 Chelsea
NOV 2006 PREMIERSHIP Chelsea 4-0 Watford

There is not much appetite to support Chelsea at 8/11 given that two of their recent defeats have been on the road. Watford are also very sharp at Vicarage Road. Only Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Wednesday’s opponents Chelsea have won more at home and in any case, goals look more obvious. An astonishing 89% of Watford’s home games have seen over 2.5, which has to be the clear bet.

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