Chelsea vs Watford preview, betting tips and prediction: Morata's return crucial for struggling BluesPublished October 19, 2017
Chelsea to win 2-1 @ 9/1 with Bet365
Eden Hazard to score and Chelsea to win @ 7/2 with Betfair
Draw HT/Chelsea FT @ 11/4 with Betfair
Antonio Conte complained a lot about his squad depth in the summer and there have been a number of occasions this season which have proven he is right to be unhappy. Defeats to Burnley and more recently Manchester City and Crystal Palace have shown the lack of options Conte has to change things when it isn’t going well.
Alvaro Morata and N’Golo Kante were noticeable absentees in the defeat at Palace, who had not scored a goal, let alone won a game, before this season. Without Morata, Conte is undecided as to how he will set up in attack, he doesn’t seem to trust Michy Bathuayi despite the Belgian scoring some crucial goals in is time. Eden Hazard has featured in the false nine role, but has so far failed to hit the heights of previous seasons. Luckily, Morata could be back for the clash with Watford at Stamford Bridge, and that could tip the balance in their favour, but this game will not be as easy as it may look for the Blues.
Watford have battled their way above Chelsea so far this season and are riding the wave of losing just once. That was a heavy defeat to Manchester City and as has been proven since, the Hornets are not the only ones to be swept aside by Pep Guardiola’s men in such a manner. Marco Silva has instilled a sense of organisation and a willingness to fight for one another, just as he did at Hull last season. It was enough to beat Arsenal last week and they will certainly be up for it at Stamford Bridge too.
Up front, Andre Gray is yet to find consistency, but Richarlison has been a revelation. Without Kante once again, Chelsea need to watch the space afforded to the Brazilian, because Palace found it far too easy to breach them last week. Hazard is due a big performance and there could hardly be a better time for it; at 7/2 to score first in a home win, the former PFA Player of the Year is well priced with Bet365. It could be a narrow game overall and Chelsea must be patient, they are not the kind of team to chase a game from the first minute, meaning a second half win could be worth a bet at 11/4.
Key battle: Cesc Fabregas vs Nathaniel Chalobah
Chelsea finally sold Chalobah in the summer after he failed to make an impression on the first team despite numerous loan spells. The England man is extremely powerful, has good technique and will have more of an opportunity to dictate the play with Kante not there. Tiemoue Bakayoko will offer protection to the back four, but Fabregas will need to be more disciplined.
If he allows Chalobah to get on the ball, it could be disastrous for Chelsea. Watford are shaping up as one of the best teams in the Premier League in terms of organisation and Chelsea will have to be very wary on Saturday.