This comes after Spurs 1-0 defeat, courtesy of a Nathan Aké header in the 90th minute, during their early kick-off against Bournemouth on Saturday – oh how we chortled when that goal went in. Should we win against Watford, we will be a point ahead of that half of our North London rivals. A win would also put us five points ahead of Arsenal; this at least until they kick-off against Brighton at 4.30pm.
If we win and Arsenal lose, or draw, we would almost guarantee ourselves a place in the Champions League next season. This would be barring a nine goal swing in favour of Manchester United, although they may still be able to catch Spurs, which I’m sure we’d also have a good chortle about. All this and more will become clearer, if we get the three points, then we’ll be supporting Brighton at Arsenal. FA Cup finalists, Watford, won’t be the easiest of opposition though. We’ve often seen teams come to Stamford Bridge and defend with a low block, a bus parked and a brick wall cemented tighter than a gnats bum. However, my philosophy is this: score an early goal and the confidence will grow. Recent home games against Watford have produced goals galore; during our title winning season back in 2016/17 we won 4-3 with a 4-2 win the following season. Of course this season at Vicarage Road we won 1-2, this came after the 4-1 defeat there in February 2018. That defeat contributed to us missing out on Champions League football this season.
One of our most famous games against Watford came in the FA Cup Semi Final during 1970. On that day we won 5-1 at White Hart Lane, the rest, as they say, is history. We then went on to beat Leeds United in the final, after a replay at Old Trafford. Watford will play Manchester City in this seasons Cup Final. Their only other appearance in the Final came in 1984 when they lost 2-0 to Everton.
Eden Hazard will return to the starting line-up tomorrow, this after our 1-1 draw against Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday where he was rested until the last 30 minutes. However, could this be his last league game at Stamford Bridge? Of course, nothing is ever certain, but I’m sure that there’ll be questions asked of him before and after tomorrow’s game. Pedro and Ruben Loftus-Cheek deserve to keep their places in the team. We may well see Marcos Alonso back replacing Emerson, but the trio of Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Christensen should continue. If this the Premier League, then it must also be Gonzalo Higuain replacing the Europa League specialist of Olivier Giroud. Personally I’d like to see Giroud play as he links well with Hazard.
Watford should have Troy Deeney back after suspension to play alongside Deulofeu. Watford are a big, strong team demonstrated by Abdoulaye Doucouré in midfield. Although they could be defensive in their outlook, they may also play a fast counter attacking game to pose our central defence problems. As said many a time, our chances need to be taken – free kicks and corners need to be accurate and as already said, that early goal could be crucial.
My Prediction: The team possibly picks itself, although I’d play Loftus-Cheek for his strength and ability over either Barkley or Kovačić. Jorginho and Kante will make up the other two in midfield. Watford might require a win for possible Europa League football next season, so this could be another game like the past two at Stamford Bridge. Possession will count, as long as that possession creates chances through Hazard & Pedro. Depending on Sarri’s choice, Barkley or Loftus-Cheek could be the player to make the difference. I’m going for a 3-1 Chelsea victory. For any crazy people wanting to take my 3-1 bet up, it’s currently 10/1 with Sky Bet (Not that I’m advertising them, or telling anybody to bet) Up The Chels!