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Watford

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Chelsea starting XI:

Courtois 6- Did what he had to do, will look to improve his distribution for the clash against Manchester United on Sunday.

Ivanovic 5- Looked shaky defence, couldn’t offer enough going forward.

Zouma 6- A solid performance by the Frenchman, managed to nullify the threat of Ighalo.

Terry (c) 6- His first performance since announcing his departure, nothing got past the centre back.

Azpilicueta 6- Couldn’t give too much attacking wise. But looked solid in defence.

Matic 5- Made some good interventions but couldn’t have an influence on the game. Brought off on the 72nd minute.

Mikel 6- Good as ever defensively, he could have done the job himself without Matic alongside him.

Fabregas 4- Looking laboured and slow on the ball, made no telling contribution.

Willian 6- As always one of Chelsea’s top performers, he had the beating of his man, but the Blues couldn’t get him into an attacking position often enough.

Oscar 4- Couldn’t back up his hat-trick from the weekend, he looked out of place starting out wide on the left.

Costa 5- Lead the line fairly well with very little support, had a header superbly saved in the final five minutes.

Subs:

Hazard 6- Influenced the game well when he came on, setting up some good opportunities, he should have started.

Manager:

Guus Hiddink 4- Should have started with Hazard, playing with two holding midfielders was not needed for long periods of the game. The team looked like they were playing more for the draw rather then the win until the final ten minutes.

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Tonight the Blues meet Watford at Vicarage Road on a dark, cold Wednesday night.

Chelsea decided not to give Eden Hazard the start off the back of his first goal in 29 matches against MK Dons on the weekend. And chose to start with Mikel and Matic in behind the roaming Fabregas and Oscar out wide on the left hand side.

With the first half an hour largely dominated by Watford, who had plenty of possession in the Chelsea half, but only able to create half chances, most notably through Etienne Capoue who thundered a strike straight at Courtois.

Just past the half hour mark Chelsea had their first chance of the half. As a lovely long ball from Oscar found Diego Costa in space, all on his own with two defenders to beat he managed to get a left foot strike deflected just past Gomes’s left-hand post.

Watford went on to dominate possession for the rest of the half, the Blues will look to up their tempo in the second half if their going to get anything from the game.

The second half commenced in the same fashion with Chelsea looking laboured on the ball and no real tempo in their passing. The first real chance fell to Watford’s left-back Holebas who is in for on loan Chelsea star Nathan Ake, after neat build up play he drove his shot into the side netting. Soon after Costa found some space down the left hand side and squared it to Oscar who was under huge pressure from the Watford defence and poked it wide. Following this Chelsea managed their first shots on target both from long range and both parried by Gomes.

On the 72nd minute fan favourite Hazard was introduced for Nemanja Matic and created the best chance of the match with a great through ball for Ivanovic to latch on to only for his shot to be saved fantastically by Gomes.

Chelsea finally started to put the pressure on in the closing stages, with Hazard at the heart of it again, looped a ball across the Watford box for Costa to slide the ball in to the side netting. Just five minutes later Willian whipped in a superb ball for Costa to get his head to only to be stopped by a sensational save from Gomes, who’s been on great form tonight.

The game finishes 0-0, after a poor performance from the Blues they will need to improve massively in order to get a result against Manchester United on Sunday.

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Tonight the Blues meet Watford at Vicarage Road on a dark, cold Wednesday night.

Chelsea decided not to give Eden Hazard the start off the back of his first goal in 29 matches against MK Dons on the weekend. And chose to start with Mikel and Matic in behind the roaming Fabregas and Oscar out wide on the left hand side.

With the first half an hour largely dominated by Watford, who had plenty of possession in the Chelsea half, but only able to create half chances, most notably through Etienne Capoue who thundered a strike straight at Courtois.

Just past the half hour mark Chelsea had their first chance of the half. As a lovely long ball from Oscar found Diego Costa in space, all on his own with two defenders to beat he managed to get a left foot strike deflected just past Gomes’s left-hand post.

Watford went on to dominate possession for the rest of the half, the Blues will look to up their tempo in the second half if their going to get anything from the game.

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Eden Hazard © Francesca Ceciarini

The official line ups for Watford v Chelsea

WATFORD – Gomes, Paredes, Cathcart, Prodl, Holebas, Capoue, Watson, Behrami, Jurado, Deeney (c), Ighalo

Subs: Pantilimon, Nyom, Suarez, Amrabat, Guedioura, Anya, Abdi.

Manager: Quique Sanchez Flores

 

CHELSEA – Courtois; Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry (c), Azpilicueta; Mikel, Matic; Willian, Fabregas, Oscar; Diego Costa.

Subs: Begovic, Cahill, Baba Rahman, Loftus-Cheek, Kenedy, Traore, Hazard.

Manager – Guus Hiddink

 

Referee: Mike Dean

Kick Off: 7.45 pm GMT

Venue – Vicarage Road

 

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The latest team news expected line ups for tonight’s game at Vicarage Road.

TEAM NEWS

Watford

– Nathan Ake cannot play due to loan agreements

– Tommie Hoban recovered from groin injury

– Joel Elkstrand suffered a setback of his previous injury, not available

Chelsea

– Falcao and Remy still out for injury

– Pato and Miazga’s paperwork is completed but not sure if they will be in the squad due to their physical condition

 

POSSIBILE LINE UPS 

 

WATFORD – Gomes; Nyom, Cathcart, Britos, Holebas; Behrami, Jurado, Capoue, Watson; Deeney, Ighalo.

Manager: Quique Sanchez Flores

CHELSEA – Courtois; Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry, Azpilicueta; Obi Mikel, Fabregas; Willian, Hazard, Oscar; Diego Costa.

Manager: Guus Hiddink

 

Referee: Mike Dean

Kick Off: 7.45 pm GMT

Venue – Vicarage Road

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Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink © Francesca Ceciarini

Guus Hiddink press conference ahead of Premier League’s game at Watford:

PATO –He is somewhere in fitness, he had worked for a few trainings, I don’t know if he can play, but he is in his preparation so he is not fully fit.

“Paperwork is done and formally he is available, but he has to be ready also physically and mentally, he hasn’t been playing since november, so we have to be careful.

INJURIES – “Falcao is out. Remy has got an injury on his calf since 10 days, so he’s not available.

TERRY“I like very much the way he plays and how much he is committed to the team, he still have his contract to the end of the season and there will be time to speak.

“His statement a bit surprising, but he was entitled to do that.

“I think there was no specific decision, I think he didn’t see any progress of what’s coming up, the decision was from his side and club side

“The door is not shut, everything is always possible.

“John is very fit and he’s not what you normally see in players his age, I had other players that age, also at lower levels, and you could see they had some issues, but this is not his case.

“I think he will be not just professional but also work hard as well.

“Every case is different, you cannot compare Remy and Ramires’ situation to John’s one, Terry is one of the key players.”

Steve Atkins, Chelsea head of commuication and public affaris, intervenes to say the club’s point of view on the iusse: ” We have said we will continue speaking to John.”

The Hiddink goes on:

HIS FUTURE“I try to stay here also for next season, it’s not up to me.

REMY – “I don’t know if the club wanted to sell him. If he can go to China before the end of February? I cannot speak about that.

GUARDIOLA AT CITY – “I think people were expecting this since his exit from Bayern Munich was announced, I think for young managers to act in this league is beautiful.

“England is different from Spain and Germany because there are not dominant teams like there, it’s different but even for him is more attractive. In Spain in September you already know that one between Real Madrid and Barcelona is going to win the league, in Germany there is Bayern’s dominance.

“The big difference is that here you got a big team to play every three days.

“Guardiola is not naif, I know him personally he’s a very stable person.

“When he was playing he was already the tactical leader of the team.I met him once or twice on the pitch, working there with a team who hired the training ground and he was in the second team. He knows the youth as well. He’s very kind, but he’s also a guy that knows what to do.

“The transition to the Premier League is not that difficult because you have, in this case they have, a lot of time to prepare for the new year. They know their plans properly. You can adjust to that. But it’s a new experience, knowing that every week, or every three or four days, there will be huge opposition. But he will know. It’s not his first year in management, and the Spanish guys at Manchester City know this league.”

PELLEGRINI FOR CHELSEA? “That’s up to Chelsea to decide. What I think of him, not having met him or spoken to him, I admire his approach to football, to his team and to the game, and he’s a well balanced manager. I respect him without knowing him.”

FOURTH SPORT CHANCES-73 points is the maximum we can achieve and usually the fourth spot is not less than 68? I haven’t’ calculated how many points we can make until the end of the season, we go game by game

“We need a sequence of wins now to have some chance.

WATFORD“They gave us a test at Stamford Bridge. They have a very dangerous team who can score at any moment, with strikers who are very dangerous. They have a very well organised team around them.

“Quique Sanchez Flores was my player. I know how he can construct a team and make it solid, very difficult to beat.

“When you compare a bit with the past, my first experience was the FA Cup game against Watford in 2009, a rather easy game for Chelsea on 60% of effort. Nowadays it’s impossible to think like that. It has grown a lot. The gap between the top clubs and the lower qualified clubs has not vanished, but it has been reduced.”

WILLIAN“He was not on the pitch yesterday, because he had a sligh contusion on the foot. Today he will be on the pitch and we’ll see how his reaction is.

MIAZGA“He is not in the squad yet, because he still in preparation. We’ll see tomorrow.”

 

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Reports in the Daily Star have claimed that Chelsea are chasing Watford striker Odion Ighalo, amidst rumours that strikers Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao will leave in the summer. 

The Nigerian scored 30 goals in 2015 – the most of any striker in the top four divisions of English football, 13 of which have come in 23 Premier League games this season.

Italian side Roma, Spanish side Atletico Madrid and Premier League rivals Arsenal have all registered their interest in Ighalo, although Watford have ruled out a deal for their striker in the January window.

Ighalo himself has said he is happy to stay at Vicarage Road, and signed a new five-year deal with the club in September, but has previously said that a move to Manchester United would be a “dream.”

Meanwhile, Chelsea are set to allow Remy to leave the club, the Frenchman having attracted interest from a host of Premier League clubs. Falcao meanwhile is nursing a groin injury, with parent club Monaco reportedly set to take the Colombian striker.

 

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Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink © Francesca Ceciarini

Guus Hiddink‘s press conference after the draw with Watford:

“Of course when we are near the end of the game and have a penalty for what I think was a deserved 3-2 it’s a setback in terms of three points, but we have to analyse the whole game and Watford deserve great respect.

“They are on a winning sequence for many weeks with clean sheets and I have a lot of respect for the way they play tactically, they have very good strikers. It was an intense game, we conceded some unlucky goals – the first one was a penalty and the second was deflected –  but I’m a little bit disappointed we didn’t get three points.

“It was important the team reacted after going 2-1 down, especially against a defensive and very well organised Watford. The reaction was also important regarding the recent past at the club as well.’

The manager also spoke about Diego Costa’s perfromance, that for him was good:

“He focused on what he’s good at and he’s very dangerous, that’s important, not wasting extra energy where you shouldn’t. He did that with two goals perfectly.

“He’s out (on Monday) which means we have to think how to solve that problem. It’s a pity after a good performance, we have to solve that in 48 hours.

“Don’t overestimate the influence of managers. You try to give people focus. Sometimes you go into training and tell them to focus on what they have to do, you do that in meetings and training sessions. When everyone knows what he’s capable of, and knows what trap he must not go into, whether it’s caused by yourself or somebody else, then you focus on your job. He showed that today with two terrific goals.”

Cesc Fabregas was taken off at half time, he explained his decision:

“Today I liked our intensity but we also have to look for a balance in the team. It’s a very attacking-orientated team.

“When we have a midfield with all creative players it’s beautiful but sometimes you need a balance and I thought John Obi gave us that balance. When you have the creative players such as Matic, Oscar, Willian coming inside and Cesc as well, sometimes you have to choose in a different way.”

 

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Chelsea draw against Watford FC at Stamford Bridge and remain at the 15th position of the League after a quality match.

 

Today’s game on Boxing Day was important for the Blues and their new/old manager Guus Hiddink. Chelsea were just 3 points ahead of Swansea City and the relegation zone before the game against “The Hornets” started. However, the players mostly have done their job, after drawing with 2-2 against Watford at an interesting game. With the return of Gary Cahill for Kurt Zouma there was no change on the team who beat Sunderland convincingly.

The Blues started well into the 2nd era of Hiddink with a very dominating start of the game. Chelsea earned already 4 corners in 15 minutes. Especially Cahill did well, he tried with quick and good crossed to open the game quickly and kept Courtois for a while unproved. After around 20 minutes, “The Hornets” became better and better and offered the watchers an attractive game with Chelsea. It took Hiddink’s team a bit till they were back with a corner. Willian’s cross found the head of the Captain John Terry who tried to get the ball towards the goal when suddenly Diego Costa it shot directly – a superb goal! Overall Chelsea were the better team with around 60 % of possession. Still it was not enough to take the advantage into half-time, the team of Flores managed to get a penalty after a silly handball by Matic. Deeney scored some minutes before the break.

The boys from SW6 London started well again with 3 corners in the first minutes. After sometime, the game got very intensive as Watford started to increase the pressure. First Capoue had two great chances in a couple of seconds, which were saved by Courtois, then Ighalo got the ball and scored past the goalkeeper, who had no chance as Cahill deflected the ball. Nevertheless, Chelsea did not lose the faith and “The Hornets” answered with many harsh fouls. Obviously it was up to Willian to break the wall, he made a great pass behind the defence to Costa who kept a cool head and shot the ball behind Gomes into the left corner. The Spaniard had a great day, he could have scored easily 2 more goals. With the entrance of Eden Hazard Chelsea tried everything to win the game. A very harsh foul by Berahmi led to a pentalty which was poorly missed by a slipping Oscar. Till the end it was a highly entertaining match which ended with 2-2. Guus Hiddink has some work to do, but overall the positive aspects outweigh.

Yet they need to turn their focus as soon as possible to Manchester United at Old Trafford. The game will be played already on Monday the 28th December.

 

Report by Benjamin Neubauer 

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Ahead of Chelsea’s Premier League clash with Watford at Stamford Bridge (15:00 GMT KO), the official lineups have been announced.

The Blues are looking to win their first game under Guus Hiddink as they come up against a Watford side who have won six of their last eight.

Lineups:

CHELSEA: Courtois, Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Fabregas, Matic, Willian, Oscar, Pedro, Costa.

Subs: Begovic, Baba, Zouma, Ramires, Mikel, Remy, Hazard. 

Manager: Guus Hiddink

 

WATFORD: Gomes, Nyom, Cathcart, Britos, Holebas, Abdi, Watson, Capoue, Jurado, Ighalo, Deeney.

Subs: Arlauskis, Behrami, Berghuis, Guédioura, Anya, Prödl, Diamanti. 

Manager: Quique Sanchez Flores

 

Referee: Andre Marriner

Venue: Stamford Bridge, London, UK.

Kick Off: 15:00pm GMT

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