It certainly wasn’t the start to the year we ever expected, with Spurs getting the better of us in the 5-3 drumming at White Hart Line. But, with 10 days of gap between the PL match day 20 and 21, we could certainly use a bit of rest. Sure, we have a FA cup fixture against Watford lined up tomorrow but this is the time for manager to test his bench strength.
If our back-ups can’t roll past a 5th placed Championship side, then maybe we don’t deserve to be at the top either! Keeping that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the key player battles that could influence the outcome of this game.
TROY DEENEY vs KURT ZOUMA
Troy Deeney has firmly established himself as the first choice striker of the Championship side. With 9 goals in all the competition so far, Troy has been leading the goal charts for Slaviša Jokanovi?’s side. Jokanovi?, the manager of Watford himself competed in the Blues’ outfit during the early 2000s for a couple of season and will have a wise word or two for his striker to avoid intimidation before he sets foot at the arena.
For Blues, Gary Cahill and John Terry were horrendous in the Chelsea’s defeat at White Hart Lane and one of them are set to make way for an energetic Kurt Zouma. The young French Centre-Back has looked promising whenever he has had the opportunity. Considering, both of our first choice CB’s out of form, this might be the chance for Zouma to make a lasting impression amongst fans and manager, when he comes up against Troy Deeney tomorrow. It should be a fun battle to watch out for, given both player’s motivation to perform at a big stage.
ALMEN ABDI vs JOHN OBI MIKEL
John Obi Mikel was unavailable in our 5-3 defeat against Spurs. With all the hate he gets for being so one-dimensional player and his lack of vision going forward, frankly we missed the presence of the Nigerian in the middle. With the constant pressure posed by Spurs, Mikel would have been an ideal bet to counter the tactic. Nevertheless, we will see him in action tomorrow, when he comes up against Almen Abdi.
Abdi has been an influential player for the Championship side with 6 goals and an assist in all competition so far this season. Playing in the midfield in a 3-5-2 formation, Abdi has a knack of creating spaces and getting into dangerous positions to score important goals. Come this weekend, it will be the job of John Obi Mikel to control the midfielder’s run and stop him from getting into dangerous positions. No matter who comes out on top at the end, it will be an intense battle for sure!
JUAN CARLOS PAREDES vs ANDRE SCHURRLE
The Ecuadorian fullback is one of the most experienced player for the Championship side having played for Barcelona. Typically a Wing Back, Paredes has started every game for Watford this season and is one of the most important player for the team. Playing as a Right Wing Back in a 3-5-2 formation, he would most probably come up against Andre Schurrle tomorrow. Schurrle’s form has been one of the most disappointing things that has happened to us this season.
After a blockbuster World Cup, the German winger has failed miserably to perform consistently for his club. Plagued with injuries and illness, the potentially world-class winger has fallen behind in the pecking order. But with Chelsea in a dire need of rotation, Schurrle will have another chance to impress his manager tomorrow. As the transfer window is officially open now, the winger better take it when he comes up against Paredes in the clash. Another motivated battle we got on our hands and I hope Schurrle emerges the winner.
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Edited By: Harshal Ahire