By playing last this matchweek, Chelsea have been gifted a great chance to jump back into third as Liverpool (currently third) and Spurs (fifth) played out an entertaining 2-2 draw on Sunday. A win sees Chelsea climb back into third, while a draw or a loss keep the Blues in fourth. The former is eminently more preferable. A must-win, then.
Chelsea have just 2 wins (plus one via a penalty kick shootout) in 9 games, but Watford have just 2 in 14. Which team can find it within themselves to shift the trend? Find out, under the Monday Night Lights.
Date / Time: Monday, February 5, 2018, 20:00 GMT; 3pm EST; 1:30am IST (next day)
Venue: Vicarage Road, Watford, England
Craig Pawson Mike Dean — A last-minute change sees Mike “Center of Attention” Dean take charge in this one. This will be his 66th Chelsea match; we’ve won both of the previous ones this season (2-0 vs. Everton, 4-0 at Stoke).
On TV: Sky Sports Main Event (UK); NBCSN, NBC Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); elsewhere
Streaming online: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live Extra; NBC Universo Now (USA); Hotstar (India)
Watford team news: Hamstrings are the talk of the town in the SW6, but Watford are not immune to them either, with Will Hughes, Kiko Femenía, Molla Wagué, and Tom Cleverley all currently affected by one. The latter could return in time for this game.
New manager Javi Gracia, whose last name is impossible to misspell as Garcia, will also be without starting goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, Nat “not-£35m-Danny-Drinkwater” Chalobah, and Miguel Britos, while a few other rarely used and less important players are also unavailable through injury or suspension (Kaboul, Cathcart, Ndong) — the latter serving the final match of a suspension he picked up with his previous team, Sunderland.
The Hornets started the season really well, but have hit the skids both on and off the pitch. Marco Silva is gone, Gracia is in, but Watford have gone three games without scoring and have kept just two clean sheets since Thanksgiving.
Chelsea team news: Ross Barkley became Chelsea’s the eighth hamstring injury victim of the season, joining Andreas Christensen on the sidelines. Morata is also there with his ailing back. On the plus side, Willian should be back and maybe David Luiz, too.
The Blues slumped to the worst individual result of the Conte era in Wednesday’s 3-0 defeat to Bournemouth. That game ended a run of 2.5 months without any break, with Chelsea set for a rest longer than 3-4 days for the first time in 23 games after this encounter. Perhaps the recent trend of mixed results can also recover into something better.
Previously: Chelsea leave it late to come from 2-1 behind and win 4-2.