?Chelsea face ?Watford at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, as the Blues aim to strengthen their grip on a top four finish in the Premier League.
Despite two consecutive draws with ?Burnley and ?Manchester United, Maurizio Sarri’s side are better off in the table thanks for ?Arsenal’s surprise string of defeats. Chelsea go into the game two points clear of the Gunners with two games remaining.
Although the visitors can still mathematically finish in a Europa League qualifying place, the Hornets are likely to settle for a respectable top half finish in Javi Gracia’s first full season in charge.
Their league season may be winding down but the trip across London can provide good preparation for Watford against a top six opponent, ahead of their FA Cup final against ?Manchester City in two weeks time.
Check out 90min’s breakdown of Sunday’s game below.
?Where to Watch
|?When Is Kick Off?||?Sunday 5 May|
|?What Time Is Kick Off?||?14:00 BST|
|?Where Is It Played?||?Stamford Bridge|
|?TV Channel/Live Stream?||Sky Sports News|
Chelsea came through the first leg of their Europa League semi-final unscathed. ?Eden Hazard was surprisingly named as a substitute against Eintracht Frankfurt, but it should mean the Belgian should be fully fit for what could be his final league game at Stamford Bridge.
Sarri explains he started Eden Hazard on the bench due to the amount of games the player has had this season. He also said that he knew Hazard is good at making an impact coming off the bench. #FRACHE
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) May 2, 2019
Sarri’s only injured players are Callum Hudson-Odoi and ?Antonio Rudiger, who both picked up long-term injuries last month.
Watford striker ?Troy Deeney is available again after serving his three-match ban for an elbow on Arsenal’s Lucas Torreira.
Defender Craig Cathcart suffered an injury against Wolves last weekend and remains doubtful for Sunday, while Domingos Quina’s season is over after undergoing shoulder surgery.
Look who’s back ?
— Watford Football Club (@WatfordFC) May 2, 2019
|?Chelsea||?Kepa; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Luiz, Alonso; Jorginho, Kante, Loftus-Cheek; Pedro, Higuain, Hazard|
|?Watford||?Foster; Femenia, Mariappa, Kabasele, Holebas; Deulofeu, Capoue, Doucoure, Pereyra; Gray, Deeney|
Head to Head Record
Chelsea have won the majority of matches against Watford and went 19 years unbeaten against the Hornets, before last season’s calamitous 4-1 defeat at Vicarage Road under Antonio Conte.
The Blues won this season’s reverse fixture on Boxing Day, with an Eden Hazard-inspired Chelsea emerging victorious 2-1 away.
The hosts go into Sunday’s game on the back of three consecutive draws in all competitions and with just one win in five.
However, despite Thursday’s draw, Sarri will be pleased with the Blues’ performance in Frankfurt and will be hoping it’s a sign of things to come with potentially four huge matches to go.
16 – @ChelseaFC are unbeaten in their last 16 Europa League games, a new record in the competition since it was rebranded in 2009-10. Sweet. #SGECHE
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 2, 2019
Gracia has seen his side lose three of their last four away matches in the league, with the win coming against this season’s whipping boys Huddersfield Town.
It may be that Watford’s players are willing to take their foot off the gas in order to save themselves for their trip to Wembley later this month.
Here’s how each team has performed in their last five fixtures:
|?Eintracht 1-1 Chelsea (2/5)||Watford 1-2 Wolves (27/4)?|
|?Man Utd 1-1 Chelsea (28/4)||?Watford 1-1 Southampton (23/4)|
|?Chelsea 2-2 Burnley (22/4)||?Huddersfield 1-2 Watford (20/4)|
|?Chelsea 4-3 Slavia Prague (18/4)||?Watford 0-1 Arsenal (15/4)|
|?Liverpool 2-0 Chelsea (14/4)||?Watford 3-2 Wolves (7/4)*|
*FA Cup semi-final
They may not be in the best form but the Blues need no extra motivation to get the job done, with Champions League football just 180 minutes away.
Chelsea have fourth place in their hands and against a team with nothing to play for, it would be an incredible disappointment if the Blues fail to pick up the three points on Sunday.
Prediction: Chelsea 3-2 Watford