With a four-match losing run now in the past, Watford have plenty of reason for optimism ahead of the Wednesday’s clash against Chelsea, with several deadline day signings further improving the atmosphere at Vicarage Road. The Blues, too, are in a good moment, with back to back wins over Arsenal and MK Dons doing wonders for the players’ confidence.
Due to their ties with Udinese and Granada, Watford were able to recruit a host of experienced footballers in the summer and with former Valencia coach Quique Sanchez Flores quickly rebuilding the squad, the Hornets would go on to enjoy a memorable start to the Premier League campaign. Fast forward some seven months and they are still going strong, occupying 10th position in the overall standings and sitting no fewer than 11 points above the dotted line. Watford experienced plenty of problems during the festive schedule, losing four straight league fixtures, while only winning the FA Cup tie against Newcastle, and it was the league win over the Magpies that ended the team’s poor run. And having since also defeated Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup fourth round clash, while recruiting the likes of Mario Suarez, Nordin Amrabat and Abdoulaye Doucoure, among others, the Hornets head into the Chelsea game in very good spirits.
Former Atletico Madrid star Mario Suarez is in contention to make his debut, but Abdoulaye Doucoure has been sent to Granada immediately after completing his switch.
There are no fresh injury worries for manager Quique Sanchez Flores, but Tommie Hoban, Lloyd Doyley and Rene Gilmartin remain sidelined.
These have been testing times for Chelsea, as the Premier League holders found themselves languishing in bottom table obscurity, but they appear to be finally getting back on track. Even if the decision to sack fans’ favourite Jose Mourinho was by no means easy, it has proved to be beneficial for the club as Guus Hiddink has brought piece to the dressing room and the results were always going to improve. Helping the players restore the lost confidence was never going to be an easy task, with Eden Hazard still unable to rediscover his form, but the likes of Diego Costa, Oscar and Cesc Fabregas are effectively back, meaning the Stamford Bridge faithful finally have something to look forward to. The Blues are now unbeaten in nine games in all competitions and are flying high following wins over Arsenal and MK Dons, meaning they will fancy their chances of winning at Vicarage Road and keeping their top 4 hopes alive.
Guus Hiddink has moved to confirm that star player Willian faces a fitness test, but there are no other worries for the Dutch manager.
Key Factors to Consider
- Over 2.5 goals were scored in eight of last nine meetings between the two teams
- Chelsea won seven of last nine matches vs Watford (D2)
- Four goals on average were scored in their last four meetings
- Watford have five wins in last eight home games (L3)
- Chelsea won each of their last three away fixtures
Both teams are flying high after recovering from their respective poor runs and they head into the game at Vicarage Road looking to adopt a positive approach. And with no fewer than 16 goals scored in their last four meetings, chances are we will witness another high-scoring encounter.
Verdict: Over 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 5/4
Bookmaker: William Hill
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