A Blue Up North previews Chelsea’s trip to Watford.
For a second consecutive weekend, Chelsea were scheduled to play their Premier League match away from home in the Saturday teatime slot. After a Christian Pulisic inspired goal fest away to Burnley last week, The Blues visit Vicarage Road this week to take on Watford.
It is a match that on paper looks as though it should be a foregone conclusion, but there is far more intrigue than just their league positions.
The hosts are bottom of the table with no victories in their 10 league matches so far this season, while Chelsea are exceeding any and all expectations in these early stages under Frank Lampard.
Quique Sanchez Flores returned as manager of The Hornets during the summer and, despite some encouraging performances, they have only managed 5 draws and 5 defeats so far.
They have suffered a number of injuries to key players and with their comparatively smaller squad, they continue to languish at the foot of the table. However, after an embarrassing 8-0 thumping away at Manchester City, they have recorded 3 straight draws, one of which they deserved to win away at Tottenham Hotspur.
Add to that Chelsea’s propensity to be in fine form and then lose to a side without a league win and the heavy home victory Watford enjoyed over The Blues last season, the potential for an unexpected result comes more into view.
The Hornets will still be without club captain Troy Deeney, while Etienne Capoue, Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley are also amongst their absentees. Despite this we can expect to come up against a resolute defence who have only conceded 1 goal in their last 3 matches.
Frank continues to be without N’Golo Kante, Antonio Rudiger, Ross Barkley and Andreas Christensen. However the growing partnerships throughout the team are pointing towards how much effort these key players will need to put in for them to return to the starting XI.
After a fantastic run of 7 consecutive victories, The Blues lost at home to Manchester United in the League Cup on Wednesday. Frank will be hoping for and expecting a reaction from his players.
Despite the potential for a banana skin result, surely whatever line up the Chelsea manager opts for they should at least out create and put score their host. After all, Watford have only scored once in their last 5 matches.
A return to winning ways will not only restart Frank’s juggernaut, but help put to bed Chelsea’s midweek loss, their poor result at Vicarage Road last season and the surprise loss at a previously winless Crystal Palace 2 years ago.
And with the return Champions League match at home to Ajax coming up on Tuesday, a win over The Hornets will also be perfect timing.
Written by Jon Ellis, home and away season ticket holder. Follow him on Twitter @ClitheroeBlue