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.

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Juventus preparing moves for Arsenal and Chelsea playmakers – report

Juventus are looking to raid the Premier League for some of its best playmaking talents with Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs stars all reportedly being targeted by the Italian giants.

Italian media outlet Calciomercato claims Juventus sporting director Fabio Guild has been in London in recent days as he is looking to sign Chelsea star Oscar, with Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil also a major target.

Oscar has long been linked with a move to the Serie A giants and Juventus believe they could land the Brazilian in January if they agree to pay in excess of €30 million.

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Chelsea’s horrendous start to the season could mean that several changes are made in January and Oscar could be one of those allowed to leave after only starting five Premier League games so far this campaign.

Ozil is an alternative to Oscar but would likely be a more expensive investment, especially after his fine start to the season with Arsenal.

The German playmaker has more assists than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues so far this term and has now recorded at least one assist in each of his last six Premier League games.

Arsenal are looking to tie him down to a new four-year contract and so a move away from the Emirates looks unlikely as this stage.

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While Juve are also keeping tabs on Tottenham’s Danish superstar Christian Eriksen. The 23-year-old has also previously been linked to Juventus but Spurs reiterated that he is not for sale back in August.

Juventus have started the 2015/16 Serie A season in poor form by their high standards. They sit seventh after 12 games after winning just one of their first six league games and will look to strengthen in January.

Should Juventus be looking to sign Oscar, Mesut Ozil or Christian Eriksen? Which playmaker is the best?

Feature: Chelsea dominating transfer headlines but are they panic buying?

Chelsea‘s below-par start to the new Premier League season has resulted in transfer news and rumours flying around about a number of players.

The Blues have today signed FC Barcelona’s Pedro Rodriguez after Jose Mourinho swooped in and stole an almost done-deal from rivals Manchester United.

The 28-year-old winger made it clear he wanted to leave the Catalan giants this summer after a lack of playing time and although terms had initially been agreed between United and Barca, it is Chelsea who have landed the experienced Spanish winger.

With Eden Hazard, Willian and Juan Cuadrado all having featured already this campaign, you have to ask whether there is room for Pedro and whether one of these three will be on their way out of the club in the next two weeks.

Foot Mercato have reported that Willian has been offered to either Paris Saint Germain or Bayern Munich, which would be a surprise given he appears to be one of the first names on the team-sheet for Mourinho.

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The John Stones saga also continues. Chelsea have reportedly had a third bid of £30 million rejected for the 21-year-old Everton defender, with a fee of nearer £40 million rumoured to be required.

It remains to be seen whether Chelsea will make a final offer to tempt the Englishman away from the Toffees but Mourinho wants the player and he will do what he can to get his own way with a short time left to go in the transfer window.

With John Terry’s position in the side uncertain ahead of the weekend clash with West Brom this will be a story with more to come. Whether or not Chelsea need the youngster is another question, with Terry, Gary Cahill, Kurt Zouma and Branislav Ivanovic all options for Mourinho at centre-back.

Ivanovic could find himself out of the squad for this weekend’s upcoming game, with new signing Baba Rahman tipped to start at left-back, pushing Cesar Azpilicueta back to his more natural right-back slot.

The odds have been slashed for Paul Pogba to join Chelsea before the window closes. This could be a clever manoeuvre from the bookies, given Chelsea’s late movements in the window leading people to believe they are willing to pay big money for players that will help them defend their Premier League title.

Juventus are reportedly holding out for at least £70 million for their highly sought after talent and having already lost many star players this summer, a move away for Pogba looks unlikely.

With a whole host of attacking midfield options at Chelsea already, Pogba would no doubt have to dislodge another player from a starting position. With Oscar occupying the number ten role he could more than likely be the player axed if Pogba was to join, with Juve linked with the Brazilian throughout the window.

Talk of Cuadrado going to Juventus is also ongoing but the rumours are that he would be going on loan to the Old Lady and would not be included as part of a potential Pogba deal.

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It is going to be a very interesting and busy end to the transfer window for Chelsea if we are to believe the rumours and Mourinho’s side could be the ones to watch very closely as they look to make up for their worst start to a season since 1998 with some late transfer excitement.

Chelsea to sell TWO stars to fund £50m move for Sterling – report

Chelsea are willing to listen to offers for South American duo Oscar and Juan Cuadrado this summer in order to fund a move for Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling, according to the Daily Star.

Sterling is being chased by some of the world’s top clubs as Real Madrid, Manchester City and Arsenal have been strongly linked with the contract rebel, but Jose Mourinho is also keeping tabs.

Chelsea need to sign English players this summer to meet the quota for homegrown players and the Blues clearly see Sterling as the best available English player.

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Sterling is looking likely to leave the Reds as he has yet to agree on a new contract and was booed by the club’s fans when receiving the Young Player of the Year award last night.

Oscar has been linked with a move away from the club because he would allow Mourinho to spend big alongside Financial Fair Play rules, but Cuadrado could also exit after just five months.

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The Colombian winger has only made three starts since joining for £26 million from Fiorentina in January and could be offloaded straight away to fund a move for Sterling.

The Liverpool ace is valued at £50 million and Chelsea will have to battle with Arsenal and City if they want to lure him to Stamford Bridge in the coming months.

Would Chelsea be silly to let Oscar and Cuadrado leave to sign Sterling?

Chelsea set to HIJACK United’s move for young Brazilian star

Chelsea are looking to add another young Brazilian to their ranks with a move for Fluminense’s Robert Kenedy who has also caught the eye of Manchester United, according to The Guardian.

The 19-year-old attacker has been working his way to the top of Brazilian football after bursting onto the scene two years ago when he was the top scorer in Brazil’s squad at the South America’s Under-17 Championships.

Kenedy has expressed his desire to play alongside his Brazilian compatriots Oscar and Ramires at Chelsea and it is looking likely that he will be the club’s second Brazilian signing in a short space of time, having already secured Nathan de Souza.

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Any possible transfer is estimated to cost a similar £4.5 million fee that Chelsea paid for Nathan.

One issue is that Nathan and Kenedy would not qualify for work permits at present, meaning they would be loaned out. Chelsea have a strong affiliation with loaning young players out in the last few years to Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem, which could be a possible destination for the two Brazilian youngsters.

Chelsea signed Oscar at a similar age back in 2012 and initially it seemed they would be loaning him out, but he was thrown in at the deep end and has gone on to make 152 appearances for the club already.

Kenedy can play either as winger or behind the striker and has scored two goals with five assists in 31 appearances for Fluminense.

Would Kenedy be a good signing for Chelsea? Do they need another young attacker at the club?

Chelsea, City and United handed HUGE boost in race for £58m-rated superstar

Premier League trio ChelseaManchester City and Manchester United have been handed a huge boost in their pursuit of Juventus superstar Paul Pogba as the Italian club are looking to rebuild this summer, according to the Daily Mail.

The 22-year-old midfielder has been on the radar of some of European football’s giants after yet another impressive season and Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Paris Saint Germain are said to be chasing his services.

It is reported that PSG made the Frenchman an astonishing £210,000-a-week offer, but Pogba’s representatives are looking for more as interest in the Frenchman is so high.

His services are going to set back any potential outfit around £58 million and with Financial Fair Play regulations, clubs will need to be selling at least one top player in order to fund any possible move.

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There has been previous talk of player-plus-cash deals, especially surrounding Chelsea with regards to Oscar heading to Juventus. But Jose Mourinho hasn’t given any indications that he plans to allow the Brazilian playmaker to depart and Oscar has claimed he is settled.

With Yaya Toure’s departure from Manchester City looking imminent that seems a more likely destination than Chelsea, but City will need to be working hard to meet the regulations of FFP.

The excitement around this deal is continually on the rise and it could be a summer-long saga for a club to secure his services in such a huge move, not too dissimilar to Gareth Bale’s move in 2013, as Pogba looks to be the number one target for club’s across Europe.

Will Paul Pogba leave Juventus this summer?

Chelsea looking to beat City and United to £43m key transfer target – report

Chelsea are stepping up their interests in Spanish midfielder Koke as they look to beat Manchester City and Manchester United to the Atletico Madrid man’s services this summer, according to Spanish publication AS.

Koke is one of Europe’s most complete midfielders and has attracted interest from a whole host of elite sides, but Jose Mourinho has made him his summer transfer priority and wants to wrap up a deal for the 23-year-old winger.

Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo watched Koke play for Atletico at Malaga two weeks ago but the Blues will have to meet his release clause of £43 million to have any chance of bringing him to the Premier League.

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The Spaniard only signed a new contract with the Spanish club last summer, ending speculation of a move away, but rumours have returned just 12 months later as Mourinho looks to raid Atletico for the second-straight summer.

Filipe Luis, Diego Costa and Thibaut Courtois were brought in from the club last summer. Courtois was on loan, but Chelsea felt the time was right to end his three-year spell in Spain, while bringing in Costa and Luis too.

The Brazilian left-back has struggled to force his way into Mourinho’s plans so far though and could be used as part of a player-plus-cash deal for Koke.

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Manchester City sporting director Txiki Begiristain watched the attacker play against Juventus in the Champions League earlier this season, while United have long been linked with a move.

Chelsea are heading towards their first Premier League title in five years and will look to further strengthen this summer. Oscar is being linked with a move away and Koke is viewed as the perfect candidate to fill in behind Diego Costa at Stamford Bridge next season.

Would Koke be a good signing for Chelsea? Is he worth £43 million?

Chelsea lining up SHOCK move for Arsenal superstar – report

Mesut Ozil is being linked with a summer exit from Arsenal despite rediscovering his form over recent months, and a move to Chelsea is being suggested by Fichajes.net.

The 26-year-old German playmaker joined Arsenal from Real Madrid in a £42.5 million deal two years ago but has continuously come under criticism for his performances.

Ozil has four goals and five assists in 15 Premier League appearances this season and helped the Gunners past Reading in their FA Cup semi-final on Saturday with two assists, pushing Arsenal to their second successive final in the competition.

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But Fichajes claim that Ozil could link up with former coach Jose Mourinho at Chelsea this summer in what would be a shock transfer.

The German was signed by Mourinho at Real Madrid and only left the Spanish giants after the Portuguese head coach moved back to the Premier League with Chelsea.

The Arsenal star has a lot of respect for Mourinho, while the Chelsea boss has always heaped praise on the German. He previously explained that: “Ozil is unique. There is no copy of him – not even a bad copy.”

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A summer switch from Arsenal to Chelsea is unlikely as the Gunners would not want to see any of their best players move to their London rivals.

But the Blues may be looking to Ozil if the likes of Oscar move on this summer as a central playmaker will be needed to reinforce the league leaders’ attack.

Would Mesut Ozil leave Arsenal for Chelsea? Should the Blues make a move for the German playmaker?

£35m-rated Chelsea star: “Why would I think of leaving the club?”

Chelsea midfielder, Oscar, has denied reports linking him with a move away this summer and insists he is “very happy”, he told Goal.com.

The £35 million-rated Brazilian has come in for a little criticism of late after being yanked off at half-time against Paris Saint-Germain and Stoke City, fuelling talk of a move away. But Oscar isn’t interested in going anywhere.

“I’m very happy here, I get along with everyone and the club shows its praise to me.

“Chelsea is one of the best clubs in the world so I can’t see why I would think of leaving the club.”

The 23-year-old playmaker has been linked with a move to Juventus, in a potential a player-plus-cash deal for the in-demand Paul Pogba.

The attacking midfielder might be forgiven for being critical of his own performances in a very competitive Chelsea starting 11, but he has contributed with six goals and seven assists this campaign.

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“I’m very happy with Chelsea’s season so far,” he added. “I’m happy with my own performances as well but reckon that I could have contributed more to the team.

“There are different tactics depending on the opponent we face and we respect the manager’s choices. Sometimes I ended up not playing the entire match but I’m doing my best to fulfil my role. So yes, I’m happy with my performances.”

Oscar seems to be content with working hard for his place in the starting 11, which is the exact mentality Jose Mourinho wants from his players and a move away this summer would not look likely at this point.

Will Oscar be a Chelsea player next season?

Will Oscar make way as Chelsea swoop for £22m-rated La Liga star?

Chelsea are chasing £22m-rated Atletico Madrid star Koke, according to reports in Spain, and Oscar could be the man to make way for the Spaniard.

The Atletico playmaker, who is also being targeted by Manchester United, has scored twice and created nine in 25 appearances this season and Jose Mourinho could be looking to revamp parts of his squad after his side’s dip in form in 2015.

Koke has impressed in the Champions League this season, creating four goals and scoring two in the seven games so far. He is now preparing for a quarter-final clash against fierce rivals Real Madrid with his Atletico teammates but could be swapping Spain for the Premier League in the coming months.

Oscar was substituted once again this weekend after a quiet first-half against Stoke and could be sold as leverage for Chelsea’s summer transfer business with Juventus reportedly interested.

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Transfermarkt.co.uk rate Oscar to be valued at £35 million and the Brazilian seems more likely to be sold than any of his fellow attacking-midfielders at Stamford Bridge.

With Jose Mourinho keen to abide by Financial Fair Play rules, Chelsea would need to sell at least one key player this summer to fund any big-money moves for transfer targets

Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas were both brought in from Liga BBVA last summer and it now looks like Mourinho is looking to reunite Koke with former teammates Thibaut Courtois and Costa at Chelsea.

Will Oscar leave Chelsea this summer? Would Koke be a good signing for the Blues?