After an awful start to the new year, Chelsea will be hoping for a better result against Watford, in their first match of this season’s FA Cup. Chelsea will host the Championship side on Sunday for the third round clash.
TEAM NEWS, INJURY UPDATES AND SUSPENSIONS
While there are no serious injury concerns or suspensions for Chelsea, Jose Mourinho may see this match as an opportunity to rest most of the regulars from the first team. Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas, Nemanja Matic and Diego Costa are likely to be rested. Loic Remy, Didier Drogba, Andre Schurrle, Mohamed Salah, Kurt Zouma and John Obi Mikel might be called into the starting line-up. Filipe Luis will most definitely return at left back. This will give the regular starters a much needed sabbatical, spanning 10 days.
Strikers Matej Vydra and Troy Deeney were left on the bench against Cardiff City last week and might be recalled against Chelsea. Sebastian Bassong, Daniel Tozser and Ikechi Anya may be recalled into the starting eleven. Loanee Adlene Guedioura is doubtful for a place in the squad, since he is expected to return to Crystal Palace. There are no serious injuries for Slavisa Jokanovic’s side, nor suspensions.
It was a day to forget on new year’s day, as Chelsea suffered a humiliating 5-3 defeat at the hands of London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, with Harry Kane and Nacer Chadli exposing our defensive frailties. Having lost two matches and drawn one in their last 6, Chelsea sit at the top of the table courtesy of only alphabetical order. With the addition of a fourth competition, squad rotation will be key to success, and the form of the otherwise fringe players will be vital. With the league looking more and more competitive with every passing week, this match comes timely, as Chelsea will look to restore confidence with a victory against the Championship side.
Watford sit 5th in the Championship, which leave them just 6 points away from automatic promotion places. With four wins out of five during the festive period, Watford may prove to be a tough nut to crack. Interestingly, Watford have won their last 3 away games, against Fulham, Reading and Cardiff City. The Hornets have the third best away record in the Championship, with 20 points in 12 away games.
Chelsea have dominated the FA Cup in recent years, winning the competition 4 times in the last 8 years, with the last victory coming in 2012. If captain John Terry starts, this will be his 648th appearance, putting him level with Frank Lampard as the third highest appearance maker in the club.
LAST 5 HEAD TO HEAD
Chelsea 5-0 Watford 03/01/2010 (FA CUP)
Watford 1-3 Chelsea 14/02/2009 (FA CUP)
Watford 0-1 Chelsea 31/03/2007 (BPL)
Chelsea 4-0 Watford 11/11/2006 (BPL)
Chelsea 4-0 Watford 14/01/2004 (FA CUP)
PREDICTED STARTING LINE-UP
Chelsea: Cech (GK), Azpilicueta, Zouma, Terry (C), Luis, Mikel, Fabregas, Schurrle, Salah, Ramires, Remy.
Watford: Gomes (GK), Angella, Cathcart, Bassong, Pudil, Anya, Guedioura, Munari, Tozser, Abdi, Deeney (C).
Chelsea 2-0 Watford
TIME: 1600 GMT / 2130 IST
VENUE: Stamford Bridge
REFEREE: Kevin Friend
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Edited By: Vikram Vadiganeni