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English Premier League

Watford v Chelsea – Preview, Predictions, and Best Bets

Watford host Chelsea at Vicarage Road in the Premier League on Wednesday night. The Hornets sit four points above the relegation places whilst The Blues saw their lead at the top of the table cut to just one point after a draw against Man Utd. Chelsea has won their last four meetings with Watford as they face their former manager Claudio Ranieri.

Watford host Chelsea at Vicarage Road in the Premier League on Wednesday night. The Hornets sit four points above the relegation places whilst The Blues saw their lead at the top of the table cut to just one point after a draw against Man Utd. Chelsea has won their last four meetings with Watford as they face their former manager Claudio Ranieri.

Watford Form

After seven points from seven matches, Watford parted ways with Xisco Munoz and appointed Claudio Ranieri. He has picked up six points from his six matches, so no real improvement has been seen. After a 5-0 home loss to Liverpool, they have looked competitive in almost every match.

After trailing 2-1 at Everton after 77 minutes, they fought back to win 5-2 on the road as Josh King scored a hattrick. 1-0 defeats against Southampton and Arsenal followed. A superb 4-1 home win against Man Utd came next as they dominated and scored two more goals once their opponents went down to ten men. Their last match saw a 4-2 loss at Leicester despite the xG reading only 2.3 to 1.9 in the Foxes favour.

Watford Team News

Ranieri has several injuries to deal with and to key players too. Ben Foster has a groin problem in goal and missed the last match with Daniel Bachmann deputizing. Ismaila Sarr and Emmanuel Dennis are both very doubtful on the wings. Sarr missed the Leicester defeat and Dennis went off injured in that match.

Nicolas N’Koulou is missing at center back and Adam Masina is doubtful at left-back so Danny Rose could be recalled. Ozan Tufan could start in midfield alongside Moussa Sissoko and Tom Cleverley.

Watford Motivation

The Hornets have played out some high-scoring matches of late but are more likely to be defensive and counter-attacking in this match.

However, if their two key wingers in Sarr and Dennis are missing, they will lack their usual speed and thrust to play on the break. Watford would certainly take a draw from this match and may even play for one from the first whistle.

Chelsea Form

The Blues are 11 matches unbeaten since losing 1-0 to Juventus in September. After four consecutive league wins with a 14-1 aggregate over those matches, they have since dropped four points in their last three matches.

After a 3-0 win at Newcastle, they drew 1-1 at home with Burnley after a late equalizer was conceded. They bounced back to win 3-0 at Leicester and 4-0 at home to Juventus in the Champions League before a 1-1 home draw with Man Utd. Chelsea dominated the Burnley and United matches with a combined 49 shots, 100 touches in the box, and 4.82 xG with only eight shots conceded.

Chelsea Team News

Chelsea is without Ben Chilwell at left wingback so Marcos Alonso is expected to start once again. N’Golo Kante remains a doubt in midfield but could be back in time to play, otherwise, Jorginho, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Saul Niguez will compete for two spots as Mateo Kovacic is out.

Thomas Tuchel could make some changes in attack with Mason Mount, Romelu Lukaku, Kai Havertz, and Christian Pulisic all pushing for starts. Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta could be handed starts in defence as the side is rotated.

Chelsea Motivation

The Blues will play to win after two disappointing draws at the home of late. Anything less than three points would be seen as a poor result.

Chelsea will play to absolutely dominate possession whilst guarding against counters. Should the side be trailing, expect Tuchel to throw on extra attackers with a winger moving to left wingback perhaps.

Key Stats

Watford have lost their last 4 matches to Chelsea (10-2 aggregate)

Watford have lost 5 of their last 8 PL matches

The Hornets have the league’s third-worst defence (24 conceded in 13)

Chelsea have the PL’s best defensive record with 5 goals conceded in 13

Chelsea have won each of their last 7 away London derbies in the PL

Chelsea have scored 25 goals in their last 9 matches (all comps)

Verdict

Chelsea is in better form and is excellent on the road. They should win with Watford expected to be missing three of their key players in Foster, Sarr, and Dennis.

Best Bet: Chelsea win to zero at 2.05
Alternative Bet: Chelsea win (-1 handicap) at 1.90
Goalscorer Tip: Reece James anytime goalscorer at 4.20
Correct score tip: Watford 0-2 Chelsea at 6.25

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    Grant is a football analyst and coach who writes about the tactics of the PSL and English Premier League. He is currently completing his UEFA A coaching licence and has consulted for a Premier League club in England. He has previously worked for several clubs and a national team in coaching and analysis roles. Twitter: @grantdesmidt

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