Premier League Preview and Prediction: Liverpool vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Liverpool vs. Chelsea

Venue: Anfield – Wednesday, April 20 – 20:00 BST (15:00 ET)

Match Odds: Liverpool 19/20 – Draw 11/4 – Chelsea 13/5

Match Preview

Liverpool welcome Chelsea to Anfield on Wednesday night in the penultimate game of the Premier League season for both sides.

The Reds come into this one off the back of their 2-0 home win against Watford which ended a run of two games without a victory.

Jurgen Klopp will have eyes on next week’s Europa League final against Sevilla so may rest players but he will be itching for his side to finish the season in the highest position possible, which could potentially be 5th if results go their way. 

Liverpool have only lost one of their last 12 home games in the Premier League and are unbeaten in their last seven at Anfield. They have scored 18 goals in those seven games.

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Chelsea’s dismal season took another low blow at the weekend as they twice threw away the lead against Sunderland.

Guus Hiddink’s time as interim manager is coming to an end and he has watched Chelsea struggle in recent weeks as they have won just two of their last eight league games.

Chelsea are unbeaten at Anfield in their last four visits, winning two and drawing two, but given their current form and the way their season has gone, it wouldn’t be a surprise if that run came to an end here.

The Blues have already lost to Liverpool this season, the reverse fixture ending in a 3-1 loss in one of Klopp’s first games as manager. Chelsea could potentially finish as low as 13th if results go against them so they need to finish the season with as much dignity as possible and rebuild ahead of the next campaign.

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Team News

Liverpool have five injury concerns as Joe Gomez, Jordan Henderson, Danny Ings, Divock Origi and Jordan Rossiter are all out. Mamadou Sakho is still suspended following the ongoing investigation after his failed blood test.

Chelsea have just three injury concerns. Loic Remy and Kurt Zouma are expected to be out while Pedro is a doubt after he missed the trip to Sunderland. John Terry is serving the first of his two-match ban following his sending off at the weekend in what looks to be a bitter end to his Chelsea career.

Key Points

Liverpool’s last five: W/W/D/L/W

Chelsea’s last five: L/L/W/D/L

Key Stat: Fast start – The opening goal of this fixture has been scored within the first ten minutes in four of the last five meetings in the Premier League. 

Key Player: Daniel Sturridge – The Englishman has scored eight goals in a season riddled with injuries. He will want to get one over on his former club and impress Klopp in the hope of securing a starting position for the Europa League final.

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Score Prediction

Liverpool 3-1 Chelsea – Liverpool have been scoring freely at home and face a Chelsea side who will be willing the season to end. Klopp may rest some players but will be fielding a team to win this game and he will expect nothing less in a tie which usually has plenty of action. 

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Premier League Preview and Prediction: Sunderland vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Sunderland vs. Chelsea

Venue: Stadium of Light – Saturday, May 7 – 15:00 BST (10:00 ET) 

Match Odds: Sunderland 9/5 – Draw 5/2 – Chelsea 7/5

Match Preview

Sunderland welcome Chelsea to the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon in a game which could play a huge part in the battle to avoid relegation from the Premier League.

The Black Cats have put together a solid run of form which has seen them lose just once in their last eight in their efforts to avoid the drop. They sit one point outside the relegation zone with a far better goal difference and a game in hand on rivals Newcastle in 17th.

Sam Allardyce has steadied the club and given them a great chance of survival but there is still plenty of work to be done. His side come into this tie off the back of their 1-1 draw against Stoke.

Sunderland lost 3-1 in the earlier meeting between the sides this season but will be expected to be a tougher task for Chelsea this time around.

Last seasons meeting between at the Stadium of Light ended 0-0. A draw would be a solid result and give Sunderland confidence heading into their game in hand in midweek.

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Chelsea come into this tie battered and bruised from their 2-2 home draw against Spurs, which is being referred to as the ‘Battle of the Bridge’ after an intensely entertaining London Derby.

Guus Hiddink’s side came back from 2-0 down to earn a draw and showed grit and determination which has been missing on the whole from Chelsea for the majority of the season.

Chelsea players and fans alike will be happy to see the back of this season and their pitiful attempt to defend the title. They will be looking to finish the campaign in the strongest form possible.

The Blues will be looking ahead to next season and the pressure will be far less intense for them than Sunderland in this tie, which may just play into the home sides hands.

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Team News

Sunderland have just one injury concern heading into this tie as Billy Jones looks a doubt.

Chelsea look likely to without two players through injury as Kurt Zouma remains out and Loic Remy looks doubtful.

Key Points

Sunderland’s last five: D/L/W/D/D

Chelsea’s last five: W/L/L/W/D

Key Stat: Sunderland have failed to score in their last three home games in the Premier League.

Key Player: Jermain Defoe – Sunderland’s main goal threat has netted 14 goals in 31 games this season and is playing a key role in their efforts to remain in the Premier League.

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Score Prediction

Sunderland 2-1 Chelsea – Sunderland are desperately chasing three points here and their performances over the last eight games would warrant them getting a win. Chelsea’s performance is unlikely to be as intense as Monday’s and they may get caught out yet again this season if they are not fully focused.

Stats: Where has it gone wrong for Eden Hazard this season?

Eden Hazard won PFA Player of the Year for his performances in Chelsea’s title winning 2014/15 campaign, but this season he has looked a shadow of his former-self, so where has it gone wrong for the winger? Lewis Addley explores…

Chelsea’s fall from grace has been well documented throughout this season with fans and pundits alike trying to work out what has happened to the current Premier League champions.

The Blues haven’t struck fear into their opponents heading into games but things have improved at Stamford Bridge since the appointment of interim-manager Guus Hiddink back in December.

One player who has clearly struggled to find his form this season is Eden Hazard. Chelsea’s No. 10 has failed to reach his high standards, and even though his confidence is coming back, he is still a long way from the player who dazzled throughout last season.

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So let’s have a look at statistics from the key areas of Hazard’s game and see how they compare to those from last season.

 Eden Hazard Goals Assists Successful

Take-ons

Successful

Passes

Key

Passes

Shot

Accuracy

Total

Shots

Chances

Created

15/16 0 3 65 962 53 39% 26 56
14/15 14 9 180 1908 90 59% 78 99

Table: Eden Hazard’s key statistics from the 2014/15 Premier League season, compared to this term (statistics provided by Squawka).

Immediately we can see that Hazard has under-performed in every offensive statistic shown in the table above. Staggeringly, he is yet to find the back of the net in the Premier League in the current campaign, despite notching 14 last year.

He recorded nine assists last season, which isn’t a huge number, but he still has three-times less that amount in the current campaign.

The Belgian star’s game is built upon taking on his opponents and creating chances, whether that be from earning free-kicks or advancing at opposition defenders in menacing runs. This season we can see that he has been far more unsuccessful when taking on opponents, with his successful take-on percentage dropping from 64% to 60%.

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The 25-year-old playmaker has recorded less than half the amount of completed passes and almost half the amount of key passes too, meaning his influence on proceedings is notably less.

It is however, his shooting which arguably provides the most worrying statistic for Chelsea fans, as Hazard has had just 26 shots in his 26 appearances, compared to his 78 in 38 games from last season. His shot accuracy is just 39% compared to his 59% in the league in 14/15.

As a winger who is expected to produce the extraordinary, Hazard has only created 56 chances for his teammates whereas he provided them with 99 last season.

While we aren’t suggesting Hazard is individually the one to blame for Chelsea’s demise this term, his reduced input as one of the standout names in their squad has arguably played a huge part in why they are not looking anywhere near as dangerous in the final third of the pitch this season – the statistics speak for themselves.

Can Eden Hazard rediscover his form next season? Will he even be a Chelsea player in the 16/17 campaign?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Watford vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Watford FC vs. Chelsea FC

Venue: Vicarage Road – Wednesday, February 3 – 19:45 GMT (14:45 ET)

Match Odds: Watford 3/1 – Draw 9/4 – Chelsea 1/1

Match Preview

Watford host Chelsea in an intriguing Premier League clash on Wednesday night, with the London rivals separated by just five points going into the midweek matches.

The Hornets ended a four-game losing run by beating Newcastle 2-1 last time out, and followed that win up with a 1-0 FA Cup win at Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

Watford have only scored four in their last five league games and will need Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney to pick back up again if they are to try and achieve a top half finish.

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Chelsea will arrive at Vicarage Road in high spirits as they extended their unbeaten run to nine games. Guus Hiddink has not lost a game since taking over and has the Blues looking better.

They beat MK Dons 5-1 in the FA Cup on Sunday and look to be on the rise again after an appalling first half of the season.

A top four finish looks to be out of the question but Chelsea know they need to win as many matches as possible to try and end the campaign on a high.

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John Terry will be leaving at the end of the season and the Blues captain is certain to rally the side each week as he will look to savour every last moment in a Chelsea shirt.

The reverse fixture ended 2-2 at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day and this one looks likely to contain more goals as both sides will look to attack from the off.

Team News

Watford have no new injury worries coming into this one. Lloyd Doyley is the only player out injured and so Quique Sanchez Flores will be able to pick what he thinks is the strongest possible side to go out and beat Chelsea for this one.

Chelsea will be sweating over the fitness of Willian, as the winger is a doubt with a foot injury. Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao are both likely to remain out so Diego Costa will need to lead the attack effectively once again. John Obi Mikel is likely to remain in the side after impressing since Hiddink took control.

Key Points

Watford’s last five: L/L/L/L/W

Chelsea’s last five: D/W/D/D/W

Key Stat: Chelsea have not lost since Guus Hiddink took control of the first-team in December, going unbeaten through nine straight games.

Key Player: Oscar – The Brazilian playmaker scored a first-half hat-trick for Chelsea in their 5-1 win at MK Dons on Sunday and will hope to make another impressive impact here.

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Score Prediction

Watford 1-2 Chelsea – This looks set to be another entertaining clash between two clubs who are looking to climb the table. Chelsea look strong again and will be tough to beat. Guus Hiddink has turned the club’s fortunes around and will likely oversee another victory in this one.

FA Cup Preview and Prediction: MK Dons vs Chelsea

Competition: FA Cup Fourth Round – MK Dons vs. Chelsea 

Venue: Stadium MK – Sunday, January 31 – 16:00 GMT (11:00 ET) 

Match Odds: MK Dons 8/1 – Draw 4/1 – Chelsea 1/3

Match Preview

Championship side MK Dons welcome Premier League champions Chelsea to Stadium MK on Sunday afternoon in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

MK Dons are sitting dangerously close to the relegation zone in the Championship but have only lost twice in their last six outings.

They come into the tie off the back of a 3-1 away defeat to Bolton but will fancy their chances of causing Chelsea some problems this weekend.

Karl Robinson’s side overcame Northampton Town 3-0 in the last round but needed a replay to do so.

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Chelsea are now unbeaten in their last eight outings and come into this tie off the back of their 1-0 away win over Arsenal.

Interim boss Guus Hiddink seems to have steadied the ship at Chelsea and will be expecting nothing less than progression after this tie.

Chelsea overcame Scunthrope in the last round and will be looking to give a few first choice names a rest this weekend. Eden Hazard could start after he made an appearance off the bench last time out following his injury troubles.

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Score Prediction

MK Dons 1-3 Chelsea – Chelsea to advance in a game they really should win. The game should be straightforward enough but you never know with the magic of the cup.

Revealed: Guus Hiddink’s plans for NYRB star nearing Chelsea move

Chelsea are on the verge of signing USMNT defender Matt Miazga from New York Red Bulls and interim manager Guus Hiddink has revealed his plans for the promising young star.

The fee for the 20 year old is believed to be in the region of £3.5 million and the Red Bulls academy product is known to be a ball-playing defender.

Hiddink hinted that Miazga will be a player Chelsea will look to use later on down the line.

“We are not rushing but he will be one of the squad members for the future.”

Chelsea are well-known for bringing in young and upcoming stars and loaning them out, with no less than 29 players currently loaned out from their parent club.

New York's Matt Miazga wins a header in the MLS Eastern Conference Semifinal Second Leg: New York Red Bulls vs. DC United at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, USA, on Nov. 8, 2015. Photo: Ashley Marshall/MLSGB.com

New York’s Matt Miazga wins a header in the MLS Eastern Conference Semifinal Second Leg: New York Red Bulls vs. DC United at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, USA, on Nov. 8, 2015. Photo: Ashley Marshall/MLSGB.com

Although there are no such reports that Miazga will be available to other clubs at this stage, it is clear he has some way to go before he is to feature for the first team. Hiddink says he will assess the centre-back but is already aware of his capabilities.

“He is a young guy stepping up to the national team and we always have such players here. You can then see what they are capable of.”

The Blues are constantly rumoured to be looking for a long-term replacement for captain John Terry and it’s evident they are looking for a defender who can play out from the back.

Will Miazga be a hit with Chelsea? Should he be loaned out in English football for more experience?

FA Cup Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Scunthorpe United

Competition: FA Cup Third Round – Chelsea vs. Scunthorpe United

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Sunday, January 10 – 14:00 GMT (09:00 ET)

Match Odds: Chelsea 2/9 – Draw 5/1 – Scunthorpe 12/1

Match Preview

Chelsea welcome League One side Scunthorpe United to Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon in the third round of the FA Cup.

The Blues appear to have started their recovery to their shocking season and this is a chance to regain some more confidence and pick up back to back wins.

Interim manager Guus Hiddink has steadied the sinking ship at Chelsea so far, but there is much more work to be done. A decent run in the FA Cup could be just what they need to get going.

Chelsea played out their best performance of the season last weekend in their 3-0 win over Crystal Palace, they had an air of confidence about them but it’s far too early to suggest things are getting back to normal.

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Scunthorpe United faced Chelsea in the FA Cup back in 2005 at Stamford Bridge and were on the receiving end of a 3-1 loss that day.

They can come to the Bridge this time around with a nothing to lose attitude and will be filled with confidence given Chelsea’s form this campaign.

Manager Mark Robins will be pleased with his sides form of late, they’ve only lost once in their last seven outings. They come into the game off the back of a 1-1 draw with Wigan Athletic and are unbeaten in three.

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Key Points

Chelsea’s last five: W/D/L/L/W

Watford’s last five: L/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: Chelsea have won the FA Cup four times in the last ten years, this is clearly their best chance of silverware this season. Hiddink won the FA Cup in his previous spell as interim manager and he will be setting his sights on repeating that feat.

Key Player: Diego Costa – The Chelsea frontman has had a poor season by his standards, but he has looked sharp and appears to have his goalscoring touch back. This is a great opportunity for him to continue his scoring run and prove he can provide on all fronts for the Blues.

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Score Prediction

Chelsea 3-0 Scunthorpe – Chelsea to advance to the next round of the cup in a game they really should win comfortably. If they can reproduce their form of last weekend they will continue their recovery, which is going to be a long and slow process. Stranger things have happened in the FA Cup though, so don’t rule out the not so unthinkable.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Watford

Competition: Premier League – Chelsea vs. Watford

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Saturday, December 26 – 15:00 GMT (10:00 ET)

Match Odds: Chelsea 4/9 – Draw 100/30 – Watford 13/2

Match Preview

Chelsea welcome Watford to Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day in the Premier League, a team they know have the ability to cause them problems in this troublesome time for the club.

The home side picked up a much needed three points last weekend against Sunderland but the same problems continued to show, as they conceded a number of good opportunities to the away side.

The atmosphere surrounding the club and in the stadium is poisonous at the moment, the best thing Chelsea fans can do is get behind the team here and they will be hoping for a win in Guus Hiddink’s first game in charge in his second spell at the club.

The fans are clearly unhappy with Roman Abramovich’s decision to sack José Mourinho and vented their frustration during last weekends win. Every game is a must win for Chelsea at the moment, but this is going to be a tough task.

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Watford will come to Stamford Bridge full of confidence. Their impressive 3-0 win over Liverpool last weekend is nothing more than they deserve.

The strike partnership of Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo is proving to be too much to handle for most clubs and they will look to get a Chelsea defence with no confidence.

Watford have won their last four games on the bounce and will be very satisfied with their position of seventh in the Premier League.

This could be a historic result for the Hornets and we expect them to maintain their professional outlook to the game despite how well they have been performing of late.

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Team News

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Radamel Falcao remain the only notable players who could miss out.

Watford will be without Nathan Ake, who is unavailable for selection against his parent club, Sebastian Prodl is a doubt, while Joel Ekstrand, Tommy Hoban and Rene Gilmartin all look set to miss out.

Key Points

Chelsea’s last five: W/D/L/L/W

Watford’s last five: L/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: Form – Watford have won their last four on the bounce including the destruction of Liverpool last weekend, they’ll be up for this one.

Key Player: Odion Ighalo – Watford’s goal machine has already netted 12 this season and will be looking to cause trouble to the shaky Chelsea defence.

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Score Prediction

Chelsea 1-1 Watford – Given Chelsea’s struggles a draw is a result they couldn’t have too many complaints about against heading into this tie against an inform Watford side full of confidence. The fans will expect a win and will certainly be on top of their under-performing stars once again.