Match Preview: Watford vs Chelsea
(Picture - Zimbio)
Watford take on Chelsea today in the Premier League in what will be the Hornets' first home match of the 2016/17 season.
Walter Mazzarri's side got off to an encouraging start to the season last week, as they held out for a hard earned point against Claude Puel's Southampton. Etienne Capoue put the Golden Boy's in front with his first goal for the club, before Nathan Redmond equalised just before the hour mark. Ben Watson was sent off for the Hornets with 15 minutes to play, but Watford held on for a hard earned point.
Antonio Conte's Chelsea are the visitors later today and the Italian's tenure at Stamford Bridge got off to a perfect start on Monday, as the Blues beat West Ham 2-1.
Both matches between Watford and Chelsea last season ended in a draw. The Hornets visited Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day last year and returned with a point, thanks to a 2-2 draw. Diego Costa put the Blues in front, before Troy Deeney equalised from the spot on the stroke of half-time. A Gary Cahill own goal put the Hornets back ahead in the second half, before Costa put the Blues on level terms. Oscar missed a late penalty, as Watford held on for a point.
Things were a lot more subdued during the return fixture at Vicarage Road last season. A stalemate was played out at the Vic in February, but Heurelho Gomes pulled off a stunning late save to deny Diego Costa a winner.
Antonio Conte is the new man in charge at Chelsea and he certainly doesn't have an easy job on his hands.
Chelsea's collapse last term was one of the stories of the season. The Special One was sacked, key players weren't performing and the Blue's stumbled to a 10th place finish in the Premier League, in what was a calamitous season at Stamford Bridge.
Conte has already started well, with a good victory over West Ham on Monday, and Blues fans will be hoping that he will be able to guide Chelsea back to the top of the Premier League.
The key player for Chelsea today will be Eden Hazard. While the Belgium international was nowhere near his best last season, Hazard has shown signs in recent weeks that he is returning to his sparkling best.
Hazard put in a superb performance against West Ham on Monday night, scoring from the spot to put the Blues in front just after half-time.
On his day, the former Lille man is one of the best players in the Premier League, with his quick and skillful play capable of causing defences all sorts of problems.
The 25-year-old is also capable of scoring superb long-range efforts, so the Hornets' defence will have to be at their best if they want to keep the mercurial winger quiet.
Today will mark a tough contest for the Hornets. There is no doubt about it.
Chelsea have a squad full of talent and in Conte, they have a manager who demands perfection.
On Monday, they showed glimpses of what they can do and they will surely want to build on that result today at Vicarage Road.
They will be right up for this match and the Hornets will have to be at the top of their game if they wish to earn some points. If the Golden Boys can build on last week's performance against Southampton, then they could certainly make things difficult for the Blues.
Come on you 'Orns!
Team news -
For Watford, Ben Watson will miss out through suspension having been sent off last week. Brice Dja Djedje and Isaac Success will miss out again. New signings Younes Kaboul and Roberto Pereyra are unlikely to feature.
For Chelsea, Antonio Conte has no new injury concerns.
Watford - Gomes (GK), Cathcart, Prodl, Britos, Amrabat, Capoue, Behrami, Guedioura, Holebas, Deeney ©, Ighalo
Chelsea - Courtois (GK), Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry ©, Azpilicueta, Kante, Matic, Wilian, Oscar, Hazard, Costa.
Referee - Jon Moss