A must-win in October? Is this what it’s come to?
It might not actually be, but it would make life easier, happier.
We certainly can’t have a third successive home league game without a goal; who even knows when was the last time such an inconceivable run happened? (Answer: Oct-Nov 1993 — 0-1 vs. Oldham, 0-2 vs. Arsenal, 0-0 vs. Manchester City; it also happened the season prior.)
The draw against AS Roma was the first time Antonio Conte’s Chelsea failed to win a match for three straight games. Let’s not make that four.
Date / Time: Saturday, October 21, 2017, 12:30 BST; 7:30am EDT; 5pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Jonathan Moss — Mr. Moss was in charge of one Chelsea’s previous early kick-offs this season already, the 2-0 win over Everton on Matchday 3.
Forecast: Windy af
On TV: Sky Sports PL (UK); NBCSN, Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); elsewhere
Streaming online: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live Extra, Universo Now (USA); Hotstar (India)
Chelsea team news: With just one fully fit senior midfielder in the squad, Conte could be facing a rather interesting decision in how to set out his team. N’Golo Kanté and Danny Drinkwater are confirmed out while Tiemoué Bakayoko and David Luiz are game-time decisions. Youngsters Ethan Ampadu or Kyle Scott would presumably be next in line, though Andreas Christensen does have some experience in defensive midfield as well.
Chelsea’s next game is a League Cup tie against Everton; there is no need to save anybody’s fitness at this point.
Watford team news: Having lost just once all season, albeit to the tune of 6-0 to Manchester City, Watford sit a surprising fourth in the Premier League and are coming off of a rousing come-from-behind win over Arsenal last weekend.
Watford don’t seem to be doing any one thing outstandingly great, but they also don’t do anything particularly wrong. Youngster Richarlison is proving a dangerous new arrival in the Premier League, while Rennes Academy product Abdoulaye Doucouré is having a breakout season after last year’s adjustment period. Other new arrivals like Kiko and Cleverley are proving serviceable. Marco Silva, the league’s second youngest manager after Eddie Howe, could be one of its next big stars, even.
And of course there’s our good friend Nathaniel Chalobah, whose decision to leave Chelsea this summer has so far proven a solid choice, but in a twist of fateful solidarity, he, too, is battling an injury, like almost every other Chelsea midfielder.
Previously: The corresponding fixture last season was a bit of a laugh, with Chelsea winning 4-3 just a few days after clinching the title.