This week’s Monday Night Football sees Javi Garcia make his home debut as Watford manager at Vicarage Road, as they welcome Antonio Conte’s Chelsea in the Premier League.
These teams met towards end of October with the Blues winning a 4-2 thriller at Stamford Bridge.
Since then, both teams have been in contrasting form with the Hornets now in a relegation battle.
Watford’s Tom Cleverley could miss the game, after limping off in midweek draw at Stoke with a hamstring injury.
Deadline Day signing, Didier Ndong is currently serving the last of a three match ban. The suspension was picked up against Cardiff when playing for Sunderland last month.
Chelsea are expected to hand new signings, Oliver Giroud and Emerson Palmieri starts.
Willian and David Luiz may feature, potentially off substitute bench after recovering from injuries.
Blues’ defender, Andreas Christiansen is definitely out of this trip with a hamstring problem.
Since that 4-2 meeting in October, Watford have picked up just 11 points out of a possible 45.
It has left them down five positions in 11th place and eight points off West Bromwich Albion, who prop up the table in 20th.
Chelsea meanwhile have collected 34 points in the same period and currently sit … as they battle Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal for a place in next season’s Champions League.
January alone saw Watford take just two points from four league games whilst Chelsea mustered up seven.
- From five meetings with London clubs this season, Watford have taken eight points from a possible 15.
- The last eight managers to take over the Hornets have a (W2, D4, L2) record between them. In a slightly coincidental circumstance, Walter Mazzarri’s first home game also came against Chelsea.
- On his last three home debuts as manager for; Osasuna, Malaga and Rubin Kazan, Garcia managed a (W1, D1, L1) record.
- Conte has a (W8, D1, L2) record from eleven meetings with Spanish managers since first taking charge of Juventus in 2011. 2012-13 is only season where Conte has failed to meet a Spanish manager in any match.
Where game be won and lost
|Per game average||Watford (home)||Chelsea (away)|
|Shots on Target||2.58||5.25|
Looking at the averages in all of those areas, I feel that Chelsea have already won the attack and defence.
One particular area to draw attention is their 8.92 fouls average per away game. That is one of the lowest away averages for fouls that I have seen from any top flight team this season.
Watford’s main issue will be discipline, given their higher average for yellow and red cards than Chelsea.
Either way, this looks like it might be Chelsea’s to lose here if they’re at their best.
Hopefully this game will enable Watford to take revenge against Chelsea who won the first meeting from 2-1 down.
Do that then I can see this being the start of a reverse in fortunes for them, otherwise Chelsea will walk away with this game.
The Blues however need to bounce back from their shock 3-0 home midweek defeat to Bournemouth.
Although this will be a tighter game, I just fancy Chelsea to win purely because they need the win more.
Prediction: Watford 1-2 Chelsea
Jake predicts: Watford 1-3 Chelsea
Result: Watford 4-1 Chelsea