PMB: Chelsea v Watford - tactics

We conclude our Pre-Match Briefing for today's Premier League encounter at home...



•            Among the positives from Wednesday’s 3-3 draw was the fact man-of-the-match Eden Hazard scored his first goals of the season for Chelsea. His second, a rare header, also showed the Blues can find the spirit and desire when behind to take a point, one that might prove huge when the dust settles on Group C.

•            Antonio Conte conceded that in attempting to put out a more solid line-up against the strong Italians, with central defender David Luiz bolstering a three-man midfield, the Blues ‘totally lost our style of football’. He reverted to 3-4-3 after the injured David Luiz’s departure, when Pedro came on and helped take the game to the visitors.

•            Watford play with a similar high press to Manchester City, Crystal Palace and Roma, and also have dangerous players in the left-sided winger Richarlison and the feather-ruffling frontman Troy Deeney – when selected. It may be too early for Chelsea to be boosted by the availability for the first time since his arrival of central midfielder Danny Drinkwater. Top scorer Alvaro Morata was able to return and work his way back to full fitness on Wednesday.

•            A problem for Chelsea in recent games has been attacks breaking down because of players caught offside. The four on Wednesday made it 18 times Chelsea have been flagged over the past three games. 

•            The Hornets play with confidence on the road, picking up 10 points from a possible 12 to date. Their only defeat was a 6-0 at home to Manchester City. They are physically strong and comfortable on the ball, and it was sheer force and determination that accounted for their late victory over Arsenal last weekend. 

•            Marco Silva has tasted defeat on each of the three previous occasions he faced Chelsea while at Sporting and Hull. When he visited Stamford Bridge last season Hull were very well drilled and frustrated the hosts until the first real chance was snuffled up by Diego Costa. He has a stronger hand this season and is likely to play more attacking when he can.

•            The Hornets play 3-4-3 with the ball, 5-4-1 without, and have a natural balance of left- and right-footers. Their wingers, Richarlison and former Juventus man Roberto Pereyra, tend to stay wide, often leaving Andre Gray or Deeney (pictured right) to plough a lone furrow. 

•            Watford also have our long-time rival Heurelho Gomes in goal. The Brazilian has kept two clean sheets in nine encounters with the Blues, and conceded four times on his last visit to the Bridge.





N’Golo Kante (hamstring)

Victor Moses (hamstring)


Tiemoue Bakayoko (groin)

Danny Drinkwater (calf)

David Luiz (calf)




Crystal Palace


Craig Cathcart (knee)

Nathaniel Chalobah (knee)

Tommie Hoban (acl)

Younes Kaboul (hamstring)

Isaac Success (knee)


Sebastian Prodl (hamstring)



By Rick Glanvill