Chelsea vs Watford Preview | Team News, Stats & Key Men

Chelsea vs Watford Preview | Team News, Stats & Key Men

Newly-crowned champions Chelsea welcome Watford to Stamford Bridge on Monday in what should be a great atmosphere. Although there is little to play for, the home side will be keen to put on a show for their supporters and prove that they are worthy winners of the Premier League. They will be confident of recording another three points as their opponents have shown little in recent weeks and are already on the beach after reaching the 40-point mark. That said, the Blues may have been celebrating hard over the weekend and they may not be at peak fitness for the match on Monday.

It has been an incredible first season in charge for Antonio Conte as he has reformed Chelsea from an underachieving side to champions of England once again. Despite the talent at the club, this wasn’t an easy job for the Italian as he had to recreate a winning mentality and rebuild the confidence of many players. The change to a 3-4-3 formation was the pivotal moment of the season and the Blues haven’t looked back since. Before the season started, the media were focused on Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, but it will be Conte who finishes the season top of the pile. For that, he deserves a lot of credit.

Watford have done well to maintain their Premier League status for another season, but they haven’t shown anything to suggest they are progressing as a club. They seem happy to just keep their heads above water and there are no signs of ambition to push on to greater things. Walter Mazzarri is a well-respected manager, but he has allowed standard to slip after reaching 40 points and his position could be under threat once the season ends. Five losses from their last six matches suggest that they won’t provide much of a threat to this Chelsea side.

Chelsea haven’t lost to Watford since 1999 and that will give the Blues confidence ahead of this one. Their earlier meeting this season ended in a 2-1 win for the Blues, but they didn’t have it all their own way. Etienne Capoue scored the opening goal of the game to give his side a lead before late goals from Diego Costa and Michy Batshuayi gave Chelsea the win.

Interesting Stats

Antonio Conte is the fourth manager to lift the Premier League title during their first season in the competition, following Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and Manuel Pellegrini.

Watford have only scored once in their last six matches.

Key Men

Hazard

The Belgian international has had a great season and has emerged as one of the best players in the league once again. It will be interesting to see if he can push on this time and become one of the best in the world. There was a time when he was expected to compete for the Ballon D’Or, but he never reached those levels. Antonio Conte has reinvigorated the attacker and he has played a major part in the Blues regaining the title. He will be desperate to finish the season strongly and there will be a good opportunity to score goals against what is an out-of-form Watford team. This season, the 26-year-old has contributed 15 goals and five assists. The change to a 3-4-3 formation has given him a lot of freedom in attack and he now has the license to roam in the final third. The next two matches will show us a lot about Hazard’s mentality as there is nothing to play for, but great players continue to show up. If the Belgian wants to be competing with the best players in the world, he needs to motivate himself for every match, starting with Watford on Monday.

Niang

Watford have signed several good players since their arrival in the Premier League. However, they have struggled to get the best out of many of them. After signing on loan in January, a lot was expected of M’Baye Niang, as he has been an exciting player in Serie A and linked to a few big clubs across Europe. It was a coup for Watford to clinch the signing of the Frenchman and there was a lot of excitement to see what he managed to do in England. In 14 appearances, he has scored two goals and got two assists, which isn’t that impressive, especially for a player with his ability. His problem has been that he has joined a team that is no longer motivated and that has affected the amount of chances he is getting in the final third. Anybody who has watched him at AC Milan will know that he is can be a huge threat on his day and he will be keen to show that over the rest of his loan spell. He has a great opportunity on Monday as he will be coming up against the best team in the league, therefore it is a good chance for him to show what he can do. A good performance could earn him a move in the summer, as it seems unlikely he will choose to stay at Watford.

Team News

Chelsea have a fully fit squad to choose from, but Antonio Conte may give chances to the fringe players before the season finishes. That means Michy Batshuayi, Kurt Zouma, Willian and John Terry could all have a part to play in this one.

Christian Kabasele, Miguel Britos, Younes Kaboul, Craig Cathcart, Roberto Pereyra and Mauro Zarate will all be unavailable for the visitors, due to various injuries.

Verdict

This will have the feeling of an end-of-season encounter as neither side have anything to play for. There will be celebrations at Stamford Bridge as this is the first home game since Chelsea were confirmed as champions. The atmosphere should motivate the home side to win the match and they could score a few goals in the process. Watford have been awful in recent weeks and it seems unlikely that they can get a positive result at Stamford Bridge. It would be a huge surprise if the result is anything other than a home win.