Watford welcome Chelsea to Vicarage Road on Boxing Day in the late game of boxing day (7:30pm).
The Hornets have put together a three-match unbeaten run in the Premier League, ahead of the Blues visit.
Watford come into this London Derby, on the back of an impressive 0-2 win on the weekend in another London Derby against West-Ham away so they come into this game with a lot of confidence.
Chelsea make the short trip to face the Hornets, having suffered a shock 0-1 defeat at home to Claude Puel’s Leicester on Saturday afternoon.
Maurizio Sarri will be looking for a positive response in this game from his Blues side.
Recent form in the Premier League for both sides;
Gracia could field the same team which got the better of West Ham at the weekend after they have no fresh injury issues.
Tom Cleverly is back in contention for a starting role, after his 15-minute cameo off the bench for Watford at the weekend against West-Ham, as he returned to the Watford squad at the weekend, after recovering from a long-term injury.
Sarri is likely to recall Olivier Giroud to the starting line-up, as the French Striker only was used off the bench at the weekend against Leicester.
Barkley or Loftus-Cheek are in contention for a starting position, with Mateo Kovacic dropping out of the starting eleven after his poor performance at the weekend against Leicester.
There also may be changes at the back for the Blues, due to their busy upcoming schedule.
Alvaro Morata could make the bench after returning to training following a knee injury, but Andreas Christensen will remain out with a minor hamstring problem.
Watford predicted eleven- Foster, Femenia, Kabasele, Cathcart, Holebas, Capoue, Doucoure, Sema, Pereyra, Deulofeu, Deeney.
Chelsea predicted eleven- Kepa, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Rüdiger, Emerson, Kante, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek, Pedro, Giroud, Hazard.
Is this game on TV in the UK?
Yes. This late game on boxing day is on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League, with the coverage starting at 7:00pm, and kick off is at 7:30pm.
Watford Manager: Javi Gracia (Quotes credit- Watford Official website)
On Chelsea; “It was my first home game and my first victory as well,” said Gracia. “We try to repeat. It was a good game, last season. It was special. But it’s the past, it’s another game.”
“I don’t know what will change for them after they lost, but what I know is that playing against Chelsea we have to do our best and try to compete to our best level,” said the Head Coach. “If you don’t do it, you don’t have any chance. We know it will be demanding because Chelsea is one of the best teams in the league but, playing at home with the backing of our supporters, we can do it.”
On his the topic of his squad depth; “At this moment I think all the players have finished the [West Ham] game well. We have to recover well and to prepare in a short time for the next game. With a win, it is always better.”
On his sides recent good form and his sides good form against the big sides; “They have very good mechanisms to attack, different options and good players, but to get a clean sheet against West Ham is something good for us,” Gracia said. “It shows us working together with solidarity. We showed we can defend well against City at home. We lost 2-1 but, at the end, we had chances to get some points. We know it’s difficult, but, at this moment, I think we are able to compete and get options to win. We are in a good moment and we can compete with all of them.”
Chelsea Manager: Maurizio Sarri (Quotes credit- FotMob)
“I think that in this moment, we have to think about us, only about our team”
“The match is difficult. We know we have to study this kind of opponent very well [but] i think that now this most important thing is our reaction after the [Leicester] match.”
“In this match [Leicester] our reaction was not in the right way, and now we have to think about our reaction after the match, just in order to prepare in the right way.”
“I think that i have an idea about what happened [against Leicester], so I want only a confirmation”.
“We will prepare a video for the individual mistakes. I want to speak with the group first of all and then I want to speak with three, four, five players. I don’t know how many at the moment.”
“But we have to do everything to avoid the same problem in the future. It is not easy.”
On Morata; “[On Friday] he started training with the group so I think he will be able to play”.
These two sides have met 33 times in all competitions over the years, with Chelsea having a better head-to-head record against the Hornets. The Blues have beaten the Hornets on 17 occasions. There have been 6 draws between these two sides over the years. And the Hornets have beaten the Blues on 10 occasions.
These two sides met two times last year in the League, and their latest meeting finishes in a famous 4-1 win to Watford at Vicarage Road. The reverse fixture earlier that season finished 4-2 to the Blues at Stamford Bridge, thanks to Michy Batshuayi grabbing a brace on that day!
Betting Odds/My Prediction
Sky Bet have made Chelsea slight favourites for this encounter, with a Blues away win at Vicarage Road being priced at 8/11. A draw between these two sides is being priced at 14/5. And a Watford home is being priced at 18/5.
My realistic predictions for this game is either a 2-1 Watford win or a 2-2 draw.
But my optimistic predictions for this game is either a very tight 0-1 win to Chelsea or a tight 1-2 win to Chelsea. I think Sarri’s side will respond after their shock defeat to Leicester at home at the weekend. ending their unbeaten home record!
Which way do you see this game going? Comment down below your score predictions.
By Danyal Khan
Categories: Premier League