Rey Stevinho previews Chelsea’s upcoming fixture game Watford at Stamford Bridge on Saturday kicking off at 8pm.
With four matches under his belt, Lampard has seen what his current Chelsea side is capable of. The Blues were able to hold off a feisty gauntlet of opponents – winning their first three matches – before collapsing to their east London rivals West Ham United on Wednesday. They now travel back to Stamford Bridge where they will host Watford on Saturday. Their last encounter was successful one as Chelsea were able to hold off the Hornets in a 2-1 victory.
Chelsea come into this match only two points ahead of Manchester United and Wolves after slipping away the chance to go to up to third. United’s resurgence in form has made them a huge – and they are now unbeaten since January. Wolverhampton Wanderers are also on a lively streak closing in on the top four only being behind United in goals differential.
Insight on Watford’s current form
Watford have been in a tightrope all season trying to stay out of the relegation zone. They presently sit in 17th place with a measly 28 points – above Aston Villa and Bournemouth in the drop zone by only one point.
The hornets struggle away from home – only accumulating 10 points all season away from Vicarage Road. Their leading scorer is Troy Deeney with 6 goals and their best playmaker is Gerard Deulofeu with 5 assists. Deulofeu was able to score a penalty the last time we’ve went toe to toe against them, but he is unlikely to feature this weekend because of injury.
Sitting midfielder Étienne Capoue is their most consistent player, helping Watford become much more defensively sound in the middle of the park. Most of their goals come from open play as they can be quick and direct on the offensive, with the pace of Ismail Sarr particularly dangerous.
Watford demonstrated this when they were able to defeat Liverpool for the first time this season at Vicarage Road. Despite this victory, Nigel Pearson’s side have been in termontious form only winning one out of their last twelve.
How Watford like to play
Watford usually tend to sit back against top opposition and only press in certain situations waiting for the opponent to make a mistake, like most mid table teams. When they were able to defeat Liverpool, they managed to figure out Klopp’s weaknesses by overloading the middle with compact lines and tight defensive structure. Doucouré helped Watford by dropping into deep midfield outnumbering Liverpool’s midfield and creating mistakes in the process.
They usually set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation that stifled the reds into going wide, but Watford were able to neutralise their attacking threat by instructing their wide midfielders (Welbeck and Sarr) to stay tight on Liverpool’s fullbacks. This could cause havoc for Lampard’s side as the blues seem to struggle against teams that are compact defensively. We saw this when the blues failed to score against West Ham from open play as the hammers denied Chelsea space in midfield. This will surely be Watford’s tactic coming into saturday after witnessing Chelsea collapse on the counter. Deeney’s task will to be that hold up forward and try to hurt the Blues on the break as the Hammers did this past Wednesday. Watford possess strong physical players that are more than capable of holding the ball and putting Chelsea’s leaky defence under pressure.
They also have pacey attackers in Ismalia Sarr, Deulofeu and Doucouré who can dribble the ball into final third and create attacking opportunities. The Hornets main point attack will primarily be to go long trying to catch the opposition out with off the ball runs behind the defense. Welbeck and Sarr will also be looking for long shots when giving the chance, so the blues will need to stay vigilant in this aspect. Kepa’s form has been unpredictable this season as Watford will more than likely try to test the young Spanish keeper whenever given possible.
In one of their goals against Liverpool, Watford was able to score off a throw in, as Abdoulaye Doucouré was able to get in behind Troy Deeney who acted as a target man to then follow a pass in the box quickly catching Liverpool napping. Sarr was able to pounce on the opportunity and beat Robertson in the box to open the scoring. This is another key area Chelsea need to be awake in as one mistake could be all it takes for Watford. After their performance against Liverpool, Watford has not been able to score more than one goal displaying their poor final product that has kept in the bottom half of the table. The Blues will need to ignore this fact as they give any team chances despite their position in the table due to their weak clearancing and defending.
This is a must-win game for Chelsea. The Blues have to win this game to stay above Man United and Wolves – who are only two point below in the table. Christian Pulisic is our in-form man and we should look to feed him the ball to create attacking chances. Watford will be physical -meaning the reintroduction of Olivier Giroud might be more ideal than sticking with Tammy Abraham who struggled in midweek. Giroud’s strong frame will be another weapon Chelsea should use as a target man to win second balls and get behind their compact defense. Pulisic’s dynamic mobility and Willian’s hot form will benefit from this as they could make devastating runs onto the Watford backline.
Mount was not involved in the first 60 minutes against West Ham and his absence was immediately felt. Chelsea’s press was ineffective and they looked stagnant on the ball. His tenacious energy and ability to press will be a useful factor to look upon for this game. Lampard could also seek to rest some players and integrate new faces to give others a rest such as Kante or Alonso who looked fatigued and slow against the Hammers.
Weekend Premier League Fixtures
Saturday (3pm unless stated)
- Norwich City vs Brighton (12:30)
- Leicester vs Crystal Palace
- Manchester United vs Bournemouth
- Wolves vs Arsenal (17:30)
- Chelsea vs Watford (20:00)
- Burnley vs Sheffield United (12:00)
- Newcastle vs West Ham United (14:15)
- Liverpool vs Aston Villa (16:30)
- Southampton vs Manchester City (19:00)