Watford have predominantly lined up in a pivot this season. Their coach Quique Sancho Flores is back for his second stint as Watford’s manager and alternates between a 4-1-4-1 and 4-2-3-1. In both cases he encourages his two man pivot of Abdoulaye Doucouré and Étienne Capoue to disrupt play in the centre of the park. The two man pivot also enjoy the first and second most-touches in the Watford line-up. Their role is to condense midfield, win the ball back and spray diagonals into the channel where left-midfielder Gerrard Deulofeu and Will Hughes attack opposition fullbacks in 1 v 1’s on the byline.
Watford aim to dictate possession through the triangle of Doucouré, Capoue and Tom Cleverly, who lines up as the #10 and drifts between the midfield and defensive lines in possession. Against Arsenal in their last Premier League game, they averaged 52% possession, while registering 442 completed passes.
Watford will start the game with the intent to to press Chelsea high, but also retain possession, and dictate the flow of the game to disrupt Chelsea’s high firing forward line’s quick triangular interplay.
Chelsea, who predominantly line-up in a 4-3-3, will have to be wary of Tom Cleverly receiving the ball behind Chelsea’s midfield trio. Chelsea will look to use quick triangles to free Pulisic on the left hand side behind Watford’s porous defence who’ve conceded the most goals in the Premier League. Tammy Abraham, Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount will be vital to Chelsea’s potential win. Tammy Abraham will look hang on the shoulder of the centre-back pairing of Dawson and Kabasele as Watford tend to play a high line. Mount and Pulisic will also be in for good games as Doucouré tends to roam in a box-to-box role. Jorginho and Kovacic will have a very important role in stopping Watford’s midfield runner in Doucouré and marking Cleverly carefully.
Foster, K. Femenia, C. Dawson, C. Kabasele, J. Holebas – A. Doucouré, E. Capoue – W. Hughes, T. Cleverly, G. Delufeou – A. Gray
Kepa, C. Azpilicueta, K. Zouma, F. Tomori, M. Alonso- M. Kovacic, Jorginho, M. Mount- Willian, T. Abraham, C. Pulisic
Score prediction: Chelsea win 3-1