Chelsea leave the scene of one disaster, the friendly confines of the Bridge smoldering in home defeat ruin, only to arrive at another one.
In the penultimate match of 2018, Chelsea return to Watford, where the Blues suffered perhaps the worst result of the last many years, losing 4-1 in what may have even been a flattering scoreline for us. After a good start to the season, this loss in early February was part of a series of implosions as Chelsea dropped out of the top four, went out of the Champions League, and sealed the fate of Conte, FA Cup win forthcoming or not.
38 - Chelsea have now won 37 points in the Premier League this season scoring 35 goals and conceding 15, but they won 38 points at this stage last season scoring 35 goals and conceding 16. Improvement?— OptaChelsea (@OptaChels) December 22, 2018
Sarri’s start through the first 18 games is eerily similar to Conte’s last season (if not on the pitch, then certainly in the table); now he must avoid suffering a similar fate to his countryman, or, indeed, to previous idealistic managers in their first seasons at Stamford Bridge, like Big Phil Scolari or Project AVB.
Complicating matters is a midweek round of the Premier League. Normally, a midweek match would call for rotation, but the first and only time Sarri tried that in a Premier League (in the first and only opportunity to do so thus far), we lost to Wolves, 2-1. We mustn’t have that again, obviously.
Sarri does have most of his squad back in contention, except for Victor Moses who has maybe a week left as a Chelsea player, and Andreas Christensen, who’s dealing with a hamstring injury. Álvaro Morata and Gary Cahill both should be available for selection after recent injuries of their own, though we won’t know for sure until Sarri’s press conference tomorrow.
Until then, choose wisely!