Chelsea take on Watford on Sunday in the Premier League, looking to move a step closer to a top four finish.
The Blues come into this game on the back of an impressive 1-1 draw away in the first leg of their Europa League semifinal against Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday night.
One more win out of their last two games in the Premier League will mean that it will be mathematically impossible for Manchester United to make the top four.
They have their destiny in their own hands, after their 1-1 draw away to Manchester United last Sunday.
Watford come into this match knowing that only a win is good enough to keep their faint hopes alive of a seventh placed finish in the Premier League.
They will need to bounce back from their 2-1 defeat at home to Wolves last Saturday.
The Hornets will be looking to finish off the season well, and build up some good form before they take on Manchester City in the FA Cup in a few weeks time.
Recent form in the Premier League for both teams
This game is surprisingly not being televised in the UK, despite how big the stakes are for Chelsea.
The game kicks off at 2pm (UK time) at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea are expected to recall Eden Hazard after using him as a substitute in their midweek Europa League tie.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek should be fit, but Gary Cahill is a doubt with an Achilles tendon problem and Antonio Rudiger is out for the rest of the season.
Hudson-Odoi is another player out for the rest of the season.
Gonzalo Higuain is expected to come back into the Chelsea line up, after being left out of the starting line up for Chelsea’s Europa League match against Eintracht on Thursday.
Watford welcome back captain and top scorer Troy Deeney after suspension.
Craig Cathcart limped off against Wolves last week and will be assessed, while Sebastian Prodl and Domingos Quina remain sidelined.
Predicted starting elevens
Chelsea’s predicted starting XI (4-3-3)- Kepa; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Luiz, Alonso; Jorginho, Kante, Loftus-Cheek; Hazard, Willian, Higuain.
Watford’s predicted starting XI (4-4-2)- Foster; Kiko, Mariappa, Kabasele, Holebas; Pereyra, Doucoure, Capoue, Deulofeu; Gray, Deeney.
Chelsea Manager: Maurizio Sarri speaking in his press conference after the Frankfurt game on Thursday (Quotes Credit- @ojharbord from football.london)
On how was this game in preparation for Sunday: “We have to play five matches in two weeks with the same level of importance.
“We don’t know at the moment which is the right way (to qualify) because we can get into the Champions League by the Premier League or by the Europa League.
“At the moment, we don’t know the right way. But we want both. We want the top four in the Premier League, and we want to reach the final.
” But we don’t want to play the final this time; we want to win the final.
“It’s very difficult because we have to play again in the Premier League in 62 hours, so it’s not easy to recover, especially in a very competitive championship like the Premier League. You risk to pay.”
Watford Manager: Javi Gracia (Quotes Credit- Watford’s official twitter account)
On having Troy Deeney back for Sunday: “Troy is an important player on the pitch and out of the pitch because he has experience.
“He has personality, character, ambition and desire.
“Always he is trying to help the rest of his teammates – he is thinking of all of them. He is something special for us.
“We have other important players, with different characters and with different personalities, but if you ask me I have to tell you he is something very important for us.
“Troy is the same inside as well. He doesn’t change. He is like you can see and he always has the same behaviour.”
Head to Head record
These two sides have met 34 times in all competitions over the years, with Chelsea doing better on the head to head. The Blues have beaten Watford 18 times in all competitions over the years. There have been 6 draws between these two sides in all competitions over the years. The Hornets have only beaten Chelsea 10 times in all competitions over the years.
In terms of League head to head record solely- Chelsea also have the better of Watford in that category. These two sides have met 27 times in League competitions over the years. The Blues have beaten Watford 13 times in League competitions. There have been 5 draws between these two sides in League competitions. And the Hornets have beaten Chelsea 9 times in League competitions over the years, including their famous 4-1 victory over the Blues in the Premier League last season at Vicarage Road.
The last meeting between these two sides came earlier this season in the Premier League, when an Eden Hazard brace helped Chelsea claim the three points at Vicarage Road on Boxing Day. The game finished 2-1 to Chelsea.
Betting Odds/Match Predictions
Sky Bet have made favourites for this game on Sunday, with a Chelsea win being priced at 2/5. A draw between these two sides is being priced at 18/5, and a rare Watford win at Stamford Bridge is being priced at 6/1.
My realistic prediction for this game as a journalist is a 2-2 draw.
My optimistic prediction for this game is a 2-1 Chelsea win, with a Hazard Brace!
Comment down below your score predictions at predicted line ups for this clash on Sunday.
By Danyal Khan