Our first league game of November 2019 takes us to bottom club Watford for a 5.30pm Saturday kick off. Our away league form since the start of the 2019/20 season has been nothing short of impeccable as goals have flowed more freely than wine at the last supper. Last Saturday was the turn of Christian Pulisic to grab a perfect hat-trick at Burnley, as we ran out 2-4 winners. Watford may well be quaking in their boots as they await the arrival of this young, exuberant Chelsea team, however, one word of warning, we travelled to winless bottom team Crystal Palace in October 2017 and lost 2-1 when we were expected to win, so Frank should warn his players about complacency prior to them running out onto the pitch at Vicarage Road.
A win could take us further ahead of Arsenal as they face a tricky test at The Emirates when they play against Wolves on Saturday. There surely will be changes to our starting eleven after the Carabao Cup defeat to Manchester United, however, there are still doubts over N’Golo Kante and Toni Rudiger; the latter may well need to build further fitness and will need to see a consultant regarding his pelvic injury – recent quotes however had attributed Rudiger with being fit and ready to play. N’Golo Kante may well be back for the Champions League game against Ajax next Tuesday as he’s currently training with the first team squad. Frank Lampard said after the United defeat that Ross Barkley might be fit for Saturday, but we’ll have to wait and see, in his pre-match press conference before Watford, Frank said that Ross was 50/50, as is Andreas Christensen. Coming back into the starting line-up barring any late fitness or injury issues, should be, Cesar Azpilicueta, Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham.
Watford have been the total opposite to Chelsea, as their strikers have found it difficult to find the back of the net in their ten league games. Their highest scorer is Roberto Pereyra with two goals; compare that with us and you’ll find five players with more than two goals, plus N’Golo Kante with two goals himself having only played 237 minutes, this compared to Pereyra’s 839 minutes. Statistically you would certainly look at the game and believe that this will be a Chelsea win, but statistics can be proven to be false on the day, which brings me back to complacency.
Our most recent victory against Watford came on Boxing Day 2018, when we won 1-2. A goal by Eden Hazard just on the stroke of half time, so we thought, was cancelled out by Roberto Pereyra even closer to half time. However, a second half penalty after Foster fouled Hazard in the box was converted by the Belgian to make it 1-2. The victory was revenge for the drubbing that we took in 2017/18 when we lost 4-1 at Vicarage Road, this when Tiemoue Bakayoko was sent off on the half hour mark. A Watford scorer that day was also none other than Roberto Pereyra, along with Troy Deeney, Daryl Janmaat and Gerard Deulofeu.
Looking at the game you would have to fancy us to come away with the victory, however, Watford almost won at Spurs on October 19 (1-1) and they drew at home to Arsenal on September 15 (2-2), this after Arsenal were 0-2 ahead. However, we know how susceptible Arsenal’s defence can be, especially since a certain David Luiz went there. On the flip side, Watford lost 8-0 at Manchester City and Brighton beat them 0-3 on the opening day of the season. If I were a betting man, which clearly, I’m not, I’d go for a 1-3 Chelsea victory with Tammy Abraham scoring first.
This season my written match previews and match reports are dedicated to Trizia Fiorellino; my condolences go to her friends and family, especially for her funeral on November 4, 2019. May Trizia RIP.