Team news, stats and prediction ahead of Watford vs Chelsea in the Premier League on Wednesday; kick-off 7.30pm.
Watford have a mounting casualty list ahead of Chelsea's visit on Wednesday, with Ismaila Sarr, Ben Foster and Nicolas Nkoulou sidelined until at least January.
The club have confirmed Senegal winger Sarr suffered knee ligament damage in the victory over Manchester United on November 20, with his participation in January's Africa Cup of Nations seemingly in doubt.
Emmanuel Dennis and Juraj Kucka are doubts and will have to be assessed, while Francisco Sierralta (hamstring), Peter Etebo (quad) and Kwadwo Baah (ankle) are sidelined.
Provisional Watford squad: Bachmann, Femenia, Cathcart, Troost-Ekong, Masina, Louza, Hernandez, Cleverley, Sissoko, King, Dennis, Ngakia, Rose, Joao Pedro, Kucka, Fletcher, Tufan, Kabasele, Elliot, Morris
Chelsea will hand late fitness tests to Jorginho, Reece James and Timo Werner ahead of the trip to Vicarage Road.
The trio have trained following Sunday's 1-1 draw with Manchester United at Stamford Bridge, but manager Thomas Tuchel says they require further assessment.
Tuchel remains without Ben Chilwell, N'Golo Kante (both knee) and Mateo Kovacic (hamstring), but striker Romelu Lukaku is once again available after returning from an ankle issue as a late substitute against United.
Provisional Chelsea squad: Mendy, Arrizabalaga, Christensen, Silva, Rudiger, Chalobah, Sarr, James, Azpilicueta, Alonso, Hudson-Odoi, Loftus-Cheek, Niguez, Jorginho, Barkley, Ziyech, Mount, Havertz, Werner, Pulisic, Lukaku.
How to follow
Follow Watford vs Chelsea in our dedicated live match blog. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel after full-time.
Last time out...
Jones Knows prediction
There should not be too many problems on the horizon in this one. Chelsea are 1/3 with Sky Bet for good reason.
I am hoping Thomas Tuchel keeps faith with Hakim Ziyech in the role traditionally played by Mason Mount as his first Premier League goal of the season is around the corner. In his last four starts in all competitions playing in that flexible attacking role, Ziyech has posted an average expected goals figure of 0.47 per 90 minutes and fired 15 shots on goal. He managed to find a way to score in the 1-0 win over Malmo and his confidence looks sky-high at the moment after a low-key initial start to life under Tuchel's watch.
The 5/1 with Sky Bet for him to score the first goal makes plenty of sense from an each-way perspective.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-2
BETTING ANGLE: Hakim Ziyech to score first (5/1 with Sky Bet)
- Watford have lost seven of their last eight Premier League meetings with Chelsea, winning the other 4-1 in February 2018. The Hornets have conceded 21 goals in these eight games (2.6 per game).
- Chelsea have won their last two away league games against Watford, but have never won three in a row at Vicarage Road before.
- Since a goalless draw in February 2016, there has been 33 goals scored in eight Premier League games between Watford (12 goals) and Chelsea (21), at an average of 4.1 per game.
- Watford won their last Premier League game on a Wednesday, beating Wolves 2-1 in January 2020. The Hornets had never previously won a Premier League match on this day before that (D4 L12).
- Chelsea haven't won any of their last five Premier League games played on a Wednesday (D2 L3). The Blues last had a longer winless run on a specific weekday between November 2010 and February 2011 (6 games on Sundays).
- Watford haven't kept a clean sheet in any of their last 23 Premier League matches, the longest current run of any team, and have shipped 45 goals in these games since a 3-0 win over Liverpool in February 2020.
Premier League Review: Was Carrick right to drop Ronaldo? Pressure on Rafa ahead of derby, Howe's problems and title tips
On the latest Essential Football Podcast Alice Piper is joined by Sky Sports football writers Gerard Brand and Ben Grounds to look back on another big weekend at both ends of the Premier League table after Chelsea's lead slipped following a 1-1 draw with Man Utd at Stamford Bridge.
PART 1 | Was Michael Carrick right to opt against starting Cristiano Ronaldo - and should United have signed him at all? United's interim-to-the-interim manager's tactics are assessed ahead of Ralf Rangnick's arrival, questions are raised over Chelsea's attacking prowess, while will Arsenal fancy facing this United side next given their own form?
PART 2 | Where does another bad result at Brentford leave Everton boss Rafa Benitez ahead of the Merseyside derby in midweek? Do Liverpool have anything to fear? And the curious case of Marcelo Bielsa and Kalvin Phillips...
PART 3 | Newcastle show Eddie Howe the scale of the task ahead of him with a six-pointer against Norwich next up, Aston Villa grind their way to victory again - and with two points separating the top three, who's going to win the Premier League?