Desperate to bounce back from their shocking London derby defeat in midweek, Chelsea will be hoping to extend their buffer in the top-four when they welcome Watford to an empty Stamford Bridge on Saturday night.
Hit with the most dramatic of 3-2 losses away at another relegation scrapper in West Ham earlier in the week, the Blues saw their five-match winning run come to an abrupt end and their Champions League buffer has been cut to just two points.
On the flip side, while Chelsea might still find themselves in a real battle at the top of the table, Watford find themselves scrapping it out at the other end.
Completely blown away thanks to a 3-1 drumming at home against Southampton last weekend, the Hornets are yet to record a single Premier League victory since returning from the enforced break and still hold just a one-point buffer over the drop zone.
Hit with a 2-1 defeat when they faced off against the former champions earlier in the season, Watford do also hold a worrying record against Saturday’s hosts.
Losing each of their last three straight meetings against the Royal Blues, you might be interested to know that another home victory this weekend can be found priced at 1/2 with Ladbrokes.
Willian shines in defeat
Although Chelsea might have made the trip across London on Wednesday night knowing that three points would see them leapfrog Leicester to third, Frank Lampard’s youngsters missed out on a golden opportunity.
Despite taking the lead against bottom-three strugglers West Ham, the former England midfielder saw their London rivals snatch a 3-2 win thanks to an 89th minute Andriy Yarmolenko strike.
While fans around Stamford Bridge might still find their side dealing with some rather glaring issues at the back, Saturday’s hosts would have been glad to have seen Willian extend on his recent purple patch.
Bagging a brace against the Hammers earlier in the week, the 31-year-old put pen to paper on a new short term deal that will see him stay in West London until the end of the season.
Expected to play a vital part in Chelsea’s top-four charge, Willian has bagged three Premier League goals in back-to-back appearances, a run that also saw him bag the winner against Manchester City last week.
In fact, with five goals in his last six matchups across all competitions, the Brazilian international can be found priced at 15/8 with Betfair to extend on his tally this weekend.
Where next for Watford?
While Nigel Pearson’s arrival at Vicarage Road may have offered Watford an immediate bounce, the Hornets appear to have slumped back to their early-season issues.
Largely outplayed and watching Danny Ings’ Southampton pick up a deserved 3-1 win on home soil last weekend, the former Leicester boss has seen his side fail to build off of that stunning victory against Liverpool prior to the break.
With West Ham leapfrogging them in the standings thanks to their victory over Chelsea in midweek, Watford have now managed to land just a sole win across any competition since January 12th.
While a Saints own goal may have given Saturday’s guests an ever so minor positive last time out, it should be noted that they bottom-three strugglers have failed to record a single strike from open play in any of their last four matchups on the bounce.
Even more worrying for Pearson, watching his side hit with back-to-back 1-0 defeats away at Burnley and Crystal Palace in their last contests away from Vicarage Road, the Hornets have failed to land a single away goal in over 300 minutes of action.
You might be interested to know that Watford can be found priced at 11/10 with 888Sport to draw another blank on their travels this weekend.