Chelsea have been handed yet another fantastic opportunity in the ... race? ... for the top four that seemingly none of the contenders want to actually win. With Spurs losing to Bournemouth on Saturday, the four teams vying for the last two spots have collectively won one game from their last 12 combined.
Of course, as amusing as it may be to laugh at Spurs, Arsenal, and United, Chelsea haven’t exactly been taking advantage of the situation either. Last week’s 1-1 draw at Old Trafford wasn’t a bad result, per se, but it does mean that we still need to win the last two games to guarantee a top four (well, top three now) finish.
The first of those is certainly an absolute must-win. Not only is it the final home game of the league season, it’s also probably the final home Premier League game for Eden Hazard. He will likely feature in Thursday’s Europa League semifinal second leg as well, but his reactions and behaviors will be closely watched for any hints of a final decision. (Not sure if the traditional lap of honor will be done in this game or in Thursday’s; Chelsea will wear the new home kits of next season however.)
That drama aside, winning and three points is what matters most at the end of the day, so let’s get it.
Date / Time: Sunday, May 5, 2019, 14:00 BST; 9am EDT; 9:30pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Paul Tierney — third Chelsea game for the 38-year-old in his full debut season as a Premier League referee; we won both of the previous two (Newcastle away, Huddersfield at home).
Forecast: Not the warmest
On TV: none (UK); CNBC (USA), Star Sports Select HD2 (India); elsewhere
Streaming online: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India); Fubo (affiliate link — USA only)
Chelsea team news: Chelsea have struggled mightily on weekends following Europa League ties since the conclusion of the group stage, winning none of the six games that followed after a knockout round leg — losing in the FA Cup, losing in the League Cup final, and losing two of four in the Premier League, drawing the other two. That pattern will have to change on Sunday.
The Blues also continue to deal with fitness and injury issues, with Eden Hazard (“tired”) and Loftus-Cheek (cramps) adding to concerns after losing both Antonio Rüdiger and Callum Hudson-Odoi for the season. We have three games in eight days to finish the season.
It’s not so much a race for the top four as a last man/team standing situation.
Watford team news: Watford, who will contest the FA Cup final against Manchester City in two weeks, have little to play for in this one other than a final exact position in mid-table, so hopefully they’ll just enjoy a nice relaxing day out and give us the three points. Thanks in advance!
Former Chelsea prospect Nathaniel Chalobah has recently returned to matchday squad duty after missing most of the season with various injuries, and should feature at least on the bench. Former Chelsea trainee Domingos Quina is done for the season after undergoing a shoulder operation last week.
Previously: The Blues beat the
Bees Hornets on Boxing Day, 2-1, thanks to a Brace from Bae-den. Both teams scored in first-half stoppage time, before Hazard won and converted a penalty just before the hour-mark.