Watford v Chelsea: League leaders to prove too solid for Hornets

Chelsea visit Watford on Wednesday night and Simon Mail expects the Premier League leaders to come away with another away victory...

Watford hoping for another magical night

Watford's last match at Vicarage Road resulted in a 4-1 trouncing of Manchester United, to end Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's reign, but Claudio Ranieri's side will not be afforded such generous opposition on Wednesday night against Chelsea. The Hornets produced an inspired performance against United but there is no doubt the shambolic visitors made life much easier for them.

Hopes of building momentum failed to translate into points on Sunday with 16th placed Watford losing 4-2 in snowy conditions at Leicester.

Despite a Josh King penalty and a goal from the impressive forward Emmanuel Dennis, Watford's porous defence was once again exposed.

Watford have failed to keep a clean sheet this season and their defensive weaknesses could ultimately cost them in their quest to avoid relegation.

Relentless Chelsea leading title race

Chelsea's remarkable transformation under Thomas Tuchel led them to Champions League glory last season and the team narrowly lead the way in the race for the Premier League title. The Blues have been relentless this season with their only league defeat against champions Manchester City in September. Chelsea's strength in depth, throughout the squad, is the envy of their competitors and should ensure they are in the running for the major domestic and European honours in the spring.

Even without the now fit-again Romelu Lukaku over the last six weeks, Chelsea have been in imperious form, winning 3-0 at Leicester in their last away match and thrashing Juventus 4-0 last week in the Champions League. Chelsea had to settle for a 1-1 draw at home to United on Sunday after Jorginho's penalty cancelled out Jadon Sancho's opener.

Blues too short to back in match market

Chelsea are unsurprisingly short-priced favourites with the visitors just 1.39 to take the points back to west London. It is hard to quibble with this and Chelsea's away record this season reads five victories and a draw with 10 men at Liverpool. Chelsea are fancied to overcome Watford and look a safe bet but there is no appetite to get involved at these odds in this market.


Watford, who will be waiting to hear whether goalkeeper Ben Foster is available, have certainly been unpredictable since Ranieri's arrival in October and there has to be a leap of faith to chance them at 10.0. A 5-2 victory at Everton was totally out of the blue and few could have foreseen their hammering of United, regardless of the state of their beleaguered opponents. But defeating the league leaders looks a step too far especially with their brittle defence.

The draw is available at odds of 5.2 and Watford would be delighted to come away from this match with a point. Chelsea have been ruthless under Tuchel though and a short trip to Hertfordshire will be expected to yield another victory. The Blues have won seven of their last eight matches against Watford and it is hard to anticipate an upset under the Vicarage Road lights.

Chelsea likely to shut out Hornets

Chelsea have the best defensive record in the division, conceding just five goals, which points towards another shut out victory.

Backed by outstanding goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, Chelsea have been impenetrable for most of the campaign.

All five of Chelsea's away league wins have been without conceding and the visitors are backed at 11/10 to keep a clean sheet in another victory at Watford.

Another potential way to profit is on a Chelsea win with under 3.5 goals. Their defensive record should limit Watford's chances and all of their away matches this season have produced no more than three goals. With a hectic run of fixtures, Tuchel is likely to rotate and his team may not be at full pelt but a bet on Chelsea prevailing with under four goals appeals at Evens.

Opta Stat

Watford have conceded in each of their last 23 Premier League matches, shipping 45 goals in the process, the longest current run of any top-flight side without a clean sheet.

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