And so, we’ve come, to the end of the road of what’s been this incredible, unique, difficult, rewarding, controversial, emotional, frustrating, promising ... 2021-22 season. Truly a season to underline that there is never ever a boring day at Chelsea Football Club.
It could’ve been a lot better, it could’ve been a lot worse. Two trophies won, two trophies lost. One historic night in Madrid wasted. If we win this game, we will have collected the most points in the last five seasons (74), since our title in 2016-17, and scored the third-most goals total in all competitions in club history (while playing the third-most games in any season with 63).
Most importantly, we have a strong foundation in place in youth and coaching, and if we make the right moves under the new ownership, we should be well set into the future, not just next season but well beyond, and finally close that gap to the top.
Date / Time: Sunday, May 22, 2022, 16.00 BST; 11am EDT; 8:30pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Mike Dean (on pitch); Michael Salisbury (VAR) — Dean’s final game as he’s retiring; his 77th taking charge of a Chelsea game. The first was way back in 2001!
On TV: none (UK); none (USA); Star Sports Select 1 (India); SuperSport Variety 3, Canal+ Sport 3 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: none (UK); Peacock (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA) — Peacock had serious issues last game, showing commercials in the middle of the first-half for about 6 minutes, so hopefully they’ve fixed their servers.
Chelsea team news: We’ve had to deal with a constant stream on injuries throughout this grueling season, and that’s no different now with Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ben Chilwell, and Mateo Kovačić all ruled out, and Andreas Christensen and Timo Werner questionable. Kai Havertz did make an appearance off the bench on Thursday, so presumably he’s fit to play.
Unfortunately, we still seem not to have any fresh faces from the Academy involved with the first-team, which is a bit of a missed opportunity.
This could be the final Chelsea game for perhaps as many as 10-12 players in the squad, most notably of course for César Azpilicueta, Antonio Rüdiger, and Marcos Alonso. And while the stadium will unfortunately not be full due to the restrictions from the government, hopefully they will all get a round of applause fitting for their excellent and lengthy (especially in Dave’s case) service to the club.
Watford team news: Watford are yo-yoing back down to the second division, following promotion last year and relegation the year before. They’ve gone through no fewer than seven (7!) full-time managers (Javi Garcia, Quique Sánchez Flores, Nigel Pearson, Vladimir Ivić, Xisco, Claudio Ranieri, Roy Hodgson) and one interim one, too (Hayden Mullins), during that time, which puts any hiring or firing Chelsea may have done over the years to absolute shame.
This will be the final game for Roy Hodgson, who’s retiring after nearly 50 years in football management. He’s dealing with a poor team and more injuries than I care to mention.
Previously: Chelsea have beaten Watford five times in a row, after that shock 4-1 loss at Vicarage Road (The Bakayoko Game). We won 2-1 earlier this season, Hakim Ziyech scoring the winner in the second half.