Chelsea make the short journey to Watford on Boxing Day, looking to bounce back from a shock defeat to Leicester City at the weekend. Maurizio Sarri’s team dominated possession but lost a goal on the break, and could not recover. Watford are looking to extend their current unbeaten run from three games to four games, after drawing with Everton, and beating Cardiff City and West Ham United in recent weeks.
In the last five games between the two teams at Vicarage Road, there has been one draw and each team has won twice. Spectators could be in for a festive treat when it comes to goals too, with 21 goals having been scored in the last four Premier League meetings between the teams. The Hornets are looking for their first back-to-back wins over Chelsea since 1987, having won 4-1 at Vicarage Road in the last meeting between the teams.
Watford vs Chelsea Prediction: Watford 0-1 Chelsea
Our prediction for this game is that Chelsea will return to winning ways, and secure three precious Premier League points with a narrow victory. A final scoreline of 1-0 looks like being a good bet for this game. Watford are a hard team to beat, and they are also confident and in good form right now. For their part, Chelsea will be keen to make amends for the defeat to Leicester, and this should focus the minds of the players. It will be a hard-fought contest, but in the end the Blues will score the winning goal.
Our recommended tip: Hazard, Chelsea 1-0
Our featured tip for this game comes courtesy of Ladbrokes. They are offering very tempting odds of 7/1 on Eden Hazard scoring and the Blues winning the game 1-0. This fits with our prediction that Chelsea will win the game 1-0. Eden Hazard is the Blues’ top goal scorer this season, and is the kind of player who can break open a tight game with a magic moment of quality. We suspect that this game will be hard-fought and that chances will be at a premium. When one chance does come along, you need a player of Hazard’s quality to be ruthless.
These two teams have played each on 10 previous occasions in the Premier League. Watford have won two of those games, with both victories coming at Vicarage Road. Chelsea have beaten the Hornets six times in the Premier League, with two of those wins coming at Vicarage Road. There have been two draws in the Premier League era.
Last season, Chelsea won 4-2 at Stamford Bridge in October 2017. Watford also scored four goals when they won the return fixture at Vicarage Road in February 2018. The Hornets beat the Blues 4-1 that day.
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Players to watch: Abdoulaye Doucoure & Eden Hazard
Watford’s French midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure is an important cog in the Watford machine, having provided five assists for his team this season. He has also scored two goals, and created five big chances. Significantly, he has played 43 accurate long balls, a stat which shows that many of the Hornets’ attacks come through him. Chelsea will need to cramp his room and prevent him passing with such freedom on Boxing Day.
Belgian superstar Eden Hazard is Chelsea’s top goalscorer this season, and also leads the Blues’ charts when it comes to assists. He has scored eight goals in his 17 Premier League appearances, and also provided nine assists, meaning on average that he contributes directly to a goal every game. He has crossed the ball 43 times and created 12 big chances, highlighting his importance to the Blues’ attack. Watford need to keep a close eye on the Belgian.