Watford vs Chelsea
Premier League players will be going easy on the turkey on Christmas Day because 24 hours later they are back in action, and Chelsea has a tough trip to Watford to contend with.
The Blues are the clear favourites to win this clash, with us odds of 1.74, while the Hornets are at 4.80 and the draw is available at 3.45. But recent form has been rather patchy in West London, while Watford is on a nice little run. According to the latest Premier League 2018 odds Spurs have put themselves in the frame, but Maurizio Sarri’s Blues have crashed out of contention at over 100.00 to win the title.
So the Blues desperately need a win on Boxing Day to stay in touch, but it will be far from easy.
Is Gracia the man for more than a season?
When Javi Gracia took the Watford job in January I doubt he put down too many roots in North London in the light of his new bosses’ penchant for hire and fire.
Malky Mackay was the last manager to last two seasons at Vicarage Road and since then nine coaches have gone by the wayside in seven seasons. Even in today’s climate of ‘results now or else’ it looks a bit bonkers at Watford. But hey, changing the manager and spending well has kept the Hornets in the top flight.
Gracia is doing a good job at Vicarage Road, which he needs to, of course, to hold on to his position. Seven points from three games have lifted the Hornets up to seventh place. They have started similarly well in recent seasons only to fall away when they had enough points in the bag. But the Watford ownership has high aspirations; the signing of Gerard Deulofeu from Barcelona has proved to be a shrewd acquisition and one which insists the Hornets are a top division side. The gifted wide man has three goals and has added quality to Gracia’s attacking group, scoring in the away win at West Ham last weekend and at home in the victory over Cardiff, while former Juventus midfielder Roberto Pereyra is Watford’s top scorer with five goals.
Gerard Deulofeu shakes hand with Javi Gracia after being subbed off during Watford’s match against West Ham United
They recently gave a scare to the league champions, who were a little fortunate to come away with three points from their visit to Vicarage Road as the Hornets pushed Manchester City all the way in a1-2 defeat.
Has the Sarri bubble burst?
A shock home defeat to Leicester City was Chelsea’s third in six games after the former Napoli coach had steered his new side to a 12 match unbeaten start. Sarri must be a little frustrated. A 2-1 reversal away to Wolves was swiftly followed by a master-class and a win against Manchester City, the Sky Blues’ first of the season.
So with a team packed with talent led by Eden Hazard, Sarri knows he can beat the very best. But can he get back to winning the tough games against so-called lesser opposition? The head coach has said he was bemused by his team’s surrender to Leicester City, I bet he used some rather more direct words in the Stamford Bridge dressing room immediately after the game!
Having been the most likely challenger to the Premier League’s top two, Chelsea now find themselves locked in the battle for the fourth spot, level on 37 points with Unai Emery’s Arsenal.
Chelsea has won ten of the 15 Premier League clashes between these two teams, with three draws and just two Watford wins. But the last meeting was a thumping 4-1 win for the Hornets which eased their relegation worries last season while piling more pressure on the Chelsea manager Antonio Conte.
Watford’s home form makes for interesting reading with five wins and four defeats, so a draw seems unlikely. Hazard is still Chelsea’s top scorer with eight, and as last week’s disappointment showed when the Belgian misfires then Chelsea can become a little toothless.
||Watford vs Chelsea
||Chelsea Asian Handicap -0.75 @ 2.00
|December 27, 03:30 (GMT+8)
The handicap betting odds suggest there will be a single goal deciding this game with the Hornets at 1.97 to win with that +0.75 start.
I just think Sarri’s team will react again to disappointment, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Hornets giving them a tough time, so for an alternative bet, Watford to score first is at 2.86. It promises to be a fascinating watch. So enjoy the festive period and keep in touch here for all the latest Premier League updates.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:
| = €20 (Highly confident)
|| = €10 (CONFIDENT)
|| = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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