Watford

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  1. Chelsea far from their best against a spirited Watford, published at07:13

    Neil Johnston, BBC Sport

    In a bruising contest which featured seven yellow cards, Chelsea were a long way from their best.

    But Thomas Tuchel's side found a way to secure a hard-fought three points and maintain their advantage at the summit.

    Even before the game was stopped in the 12th minute, Watford had twice gone close.

    With title rivals Manchester City and Liverpool both victorious, Chelsea would have slipped to third had they drawn - but Hakim Ziyech ensured they still lead the way.

    Ziyech's strike after coming on for the injured Trevoh Chalobah condemned Claudio Ranieri's side to a sixth defeat in eight league games.

    However, there were positives in defeat for Ranieri who, after last month's win over Manchester United, saw another spirited home performance from his players.

  2. Watford 1-2 Chelsea - Ranieri reaction, published at23:06 1 December

    Watford boss Claudio Ranieri believes his side can climb out of trouble if they continue playing like they did against Chelsea.

    The Hornets produced a spirited performance against the Premier League leaders before losing 2-1 at Vicarage Road.

    Despite a defeat that leaves his side just three points above the relegation zone, Ranieri saw enough to give him hope for the rest of the season.

    "We never gave up. We want to continue in this way. We believe this is the right way," added the Italian.

    "We must continue this way and sooner or later the points will arrive. 

    "I hope the fans are proud of us because I am proud of my players."

    Watford remain 17th in the table and host second-placed Manchester City on Saturday.

  3. Watford v Chelsea - confirmed team news, published at18:40 1 December

    Claudio Ranieri responds to Watford's 4-2 defeat at Leicester on Sunday by making one change for a match against another of his former clubs.

    Brazilian forward Joao Pedro comes in for his second top-flight start of the season. Cucho Hernandez drops to the bench.

    Watford XI: Bachmann, Femenia, Cathcart, Troost-Ekong, Masina, Louza, Joao Pedro, Cleverley, Sissoko, King, Bonaventure.

    Substitutes: Ngakia, Rose, Gosling, Fletcher, Tufan, Kabasele, Hernandez, Kucka, Elliot.

    Watford teamImage source, BBC Sport

    There are six changes for Chelsea from the side held 1-1 by Manchester United last weekend.

    In come Andreas Christensen, Christian Pulisic, Saul Niguez, Mason Mount, Cesar Azpilicueta and Kai Havertz.

    Jorginho, Timo Werner and Thiago Silva are among those dropping to the bench.

    Reece James is not involved. Romelu Lukaku again starts as a substitute.

    Chelsea XI: Mendy, Chalobah, Christensen, Rudiger, Azpilicueta, Loftus-Cheek, Saul, Alonso, Pulisic, Mount, Havertz.

    Substitutes: Arrizabalaga, Jorginho, Silva, Lukaku, Werner, Barkley, Hudson-Odoi, Ziyech, Sarr.

    Chelsea teamImage source, BBC Sport
  4. Watford v Chelsea: Team news, published at15:27 1 December

    Emmanuel Dennis and Timo Werner

    In-form Watford forward Emmanuel Dennis is a doubt after he was substituted with an ankle injury in the defeat at Leicester City.

    Ismaila Sarr could miss a month because of a knee issue but Adam Masina should be available and Juraj Kucka will be assessed.

    Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante will miss a second match because of the knee injury sustained against Juventus.

    Reece James, Jorginho and Timo Werner all face fitness tests.

    Who would you pick to replace Sarr in the Watford XI?

    Pick and share your Blues line-up here

  5. Lawro's predictions: Watford v Chelsea, published at13:02 1 December

    Mark Lawrenson takes on CBeebies presenter and West Ham fan Ben Cajee for the latest round of Premier League predictions.

    Lawro graphic

    Lawro's prediction: 0-3

    Chelsea did not get the result they wanted against Manchester United on Sunday, but their performance was really good.

    I'd imagine we will see more of Blues striker Romelu Lukaku here after he came off the bench late on against United - and that is not good news for Watford.

    Ben's prediction: 0-3

    As a West Ham fan I don't want to say it, but Chelsea just look formidable at the moment. I do like Watford though and they have got some good players - I read a few days ago that their former chairman [and life-president] Elton John is playing a gig at Vicarage Road in July, so hopefully they will still be in the Premier League then.

    Find out how Lawro and Ben think the rest of the week's fixtures will go

    Ben Cajee
  6. Watford v Chelsea: What does the form show?, published at11:33 1 December

    Watford and Chelsea form over past five games: Watford - Leicester (lost), Manchester United (won), Arsenal (lost), Southampton (lost), Everton (won); Chelsea - Manchester United (drew), Juventus (won), Leicester (won), Burnley (drew), Malmo (won)
    • Watford haven’t kept a clean sheet in their past 23 Premier League matches - the longest current run of any team - and have conceded 45 goals in these games, since a 3-0 win over Liverpool in February 2020.

    • Chelsea have won their past four away league games by an aggregate score of 10-0. They last won more consecutively on the road without conceding in the competition between September and December 2008, a run of six under Felipe Scolari.

    • Watford boss Claudio Ranieri’s first six Premier League games have seen 25 goals scored (11 for, 14 against), the most in a manager’s first six matches in charge of a club since Frank Lampard at Chelsea (also 25).

  7. Here's how busy December is for the Hornets, published at09:50 1 December

    Watford's December fixtures: Watford v Chelsea, Premier League - Wed, 1 Dec - 19:30 GMT, Watford v Manchester City, Premier League - Sat, 4 Dec - 17:30 GMT, Brentford v Watford ,Premier League - Fri, 10 Dec - 20:00 GMT, Burnley v Watford, Premier League - Wed, 15 Dec - 19:30 GMT, Watford v Crystal Palace, Premier League - Sat, 18 Dec - 15:00 GMT, Wolverhampton Wanderers v Watford, Premier League - Sun, 26 Dec - 12:30 GMT, Watford v West Ham United, Premier League - Tue, 28 Dec - 15:00 GMT.
  8. Ranieri on ‘not crying’ about injuries, facing Chelsea and tactics, published at14:59 30 November

    Geoff Doyle, BBC Three Counties Radio

    Claudio Ranieri has been speaking to the media before Wednesday’s Premier League match against leaders Chelsea.

    Here are the key lines:

    • Watford's injury problems continue to escalate as forward Emmanuel Dennis joins a growing list of absentees;

    • Ismaila Sarr has knee ligament damage and will be assessed again in a month. He’s now a doubt for the Africa Cup of Nations in January;

    • Also not back until at least January are centre-back Nicolas Nkoulou (hamstring), goalkeeper Ben Foster (groin) and midfielder Peter Etebo;

    • The Hornets will hopefully have midfielder Juraj Kucka, winger Ken Sema and centre-back Francisco Sierralta back sooner;

    • Ranieri insisted: "I don’t like to cry [about the injury situation]. Players must be positive, confident and fight together";

    • "We are underdogs playing one of the best teams in the world," Ranieri said, recognising the quality of one of his former clubs;

    • On his current tactics: "My philosophy is to give stability to the team and during matches change something to surprise the opposition."

  9. Watford v Chelsea: Last time out, published at12:03 30 November

    Olivier Giroud celebrates for ChelseaImage source, Getty Images

    Chelsea moved back into the Champions League places with a comfortable win over struggling Watford at Stamford Bridge.

    Olivier Giroud had been in good form for the Blues and he finished smartly from a clever Ross Barkley pass to put them ahead.

    A Willian penalty doubled the lead before Barkley rounded off the scoring with a fine strike into the top corner.

    Nigel Pearson's Watford worked hard but showed little quality going forward to suggest they could pull clear of the bottom three.

    The result left Frank Lampard's side one point clear of fifth-placed Manchester United with five games to go while the Hornets teetered one point above the relegation zone.

  10. This week's live commentaries on BBC Radio 5 Live, published at11:46 30 November

    BBC Radio 5 Live graphic

    There are nine live Premier League commentaries on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra this week:

    • Newcastle United v Norwich City (Tue, 30 Nov - 19:30 - 5 Live)

    • Leeds United v Crystal Palace (Tue, 30 Nov - 20:15 - first half online and second half 5 Live)

    • Watford v Chelsea (Wed, 1 Dec - 19:30 - Sports Extra)

    • Everton v Liverpool (Wed, 1 Dec - 20:15 - 5 Live)

    • Tottenham Hotspur v Brentford (Thu, 2 Dec - 19:30 - Sports Extra)

    • Manchester United v Arsenal (Thu, 2 Dec - 20:15 - 5 Live)

    • Wolverhampton Wanderers v Liverpool (Sat, 4 Dec - 15:00 - 5 Live)

    • Manchester United v Crystal Palace (Sun, 5 Dec - 14:00 - 5 Live)

    • Aston Villa v Leicester City (Sun, 5 Dec - 16:30 - 5 Live)

    All times GMT

  11. Watford v Chelsea: Head-to-head stats, published at11:03 30 November

    Premier league record, 14. Watford 2 wins 16 goals 2 clean sheets. Chelsea 10 wins 30 goals 5 clean sheets
    • Watford have lost seven of their past eight Premier League meetings with Chelsea, winning the other 4-1 in February 2018. The Hornets have conceded 21 goals in these eight games (2.6 per game).

    • Chelsea have won their past two away league games against Watford, but have never won three in a row at Vicarage Road before.

    • Since a goalless draw in February 2016, there has been 33 goals scored in eight Premier League games between Watford (12 goals) and Chelsea (21), at an average of 4.1 per game.

  12. Watford v Chelsea: Who makes your Hornets team?, published at18:25 29 November

    Watford team selector graphic

    Watford host Chelsea in this season's first round of midweek Premier League fixtures on Wednesday, but who will make it into Claudio Ranieri's starting XI as they look to get something against the leaders?

    You'll be able to pick - and share on social media - your own line-up for every Premier League game throughout the campaign.

    It's up to you how to approach it - you could go for the team you WANT the boss to pick or the one you THINK he will.

    Either way, it's time to choose your Hornets team to face Chelsea

  13. Midweek fixtures at a glance, published at14:41 29 November

    Tuesday fixtures: Newcastle v Norwich 19:30 GMT, Leeds v Crystal Palace 20:15 GMT. Wednesday fixtures: Southampton v Leicester 19:30 GMT, Watford v Chelsea 19:30 GMT, West Ham v Brighton 19:30, Wolves v Burnley 19:30 GMT, Aston Villa v Man City 20:15 GMT, Everton v Liverpool 20:15 GMT. Thursday fixtures: Tottenham v Brentford 19:30 GMT, Man Utd v Arsenal 20:15 GMT.
  14. Ranieri may have to opt for attack being the best form of defence, published at09:06 29 November

    Geoff Doyle, BBC Three Counties Radio

    Let’s start with the positives. In attack Watford are pretty good.

    Joshua King and Emmanuel Dennis have been excellent all season. They were the Hornets' two best players again at Leicester, along with Moussa Sissoko.

    Cucho Hernandez is a decent replacement for Ismaila Sarr, who hopefully won’t be out for too long. Then there’s Joao Pedro, who came on as a substitute and impressed again.

    These are all young players with room for improvement and they have considerable saleability. They are creating chances (Dennis has five assists) and also scoring - Sarr, King and Dennis all have five. Attack is not a problem for Watford.

    But defending is. It’s a huge problem. It’s now 23 Premier League games in a row the Hornets haven’t kept a clean sheet.

    Admittedly they are hamstrung by injuries; the two central defenders at Leicester are probably third and fourth choice in that position, with Nicolas Nkoulou, Francisco Sierralta and Christian Kabasele all injured - although the latter should be fit to start soon.

    Confidence is low in the heart of the defence and, with goalkeeper Ben Foster injured at the weekend, it further weakened Watford at King Power Stadium. Until players return from injury Claudio Ranieri doesn’t have too many options.

    It’s possibly the reason why he played the second half with just Sissoko in midfield, gambling on attack being the best form of defence. But Sissoko is surely going to need some help in there in the next two fixtures.

    Chelsea and Manchester City are up next - Watford will need to defend better against them but these two games aren’t going to define the Hornets' season. The December matches against Brentford, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Wolves and West Ham are far more important.

  15. Leicester 4-2 Watford: The pick of the stats, published at07:53 29 November

    Jonny Evans v Joshua King Image source, Getty Images
    • Leicester registered only their third win in their past 10 Premier League matches (drawn three, lost four) – despite this, the Foxes shipped two goals for a fifth consecutive home Premier League game, the first time they’ve done that since a five-game run between April and August 2001.

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

    • Jamie Vardy has scored in five of his six home Premier League appearances against Watford, netting six goals, the joint-most he’s scored against an opponent at King Power Stadium for Leicester, along with both Arsenal and Liverpool.

  16. Ranieri reception brings warmth to King Power, published at07:19 29 November

    Michael Emons, BBC Sport

    Claudio Ranieri’s return to the King Power Stadium was a hectic, frantic and thrilling one as his old side Leicester defeated his current team Watford 4-2 in a match played in blizzard-like conditions.

    Jamie Vardy, whose goals helped the Foxes win the Premier League in 2015-16 when Ranieri was in charge, scored twice, with further goals from James Maddison and Ademola Lookman to take Leicester back into the top half of the table.

    But they were helped by some woeful Watford defending as the Hornets again failed to keep a clean sheet and conceded after some sloppy, basic mistakes.

    Going forward, Watford look a threat with their goals coming from a Joshua King penalty and Emmanuel Dennis but the Hornets will be on the receiving end of a couple of hammerings if they defend in a same fashion in their next two games – against Chelsea and Manchester City.

    Ranieri rightly received a heroic reception from the home fans in his first time in the opponents’ dugout since that memorable 5,000-1 title win five years ago.

    On an emotional afternoon for the 70-year-old, Leicester fans applauded and chanted songs about their former boss throughout the match. Current Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers said the reception for Ranieri “warmed the heart” and, on a bitterly cold afternoon, he was right.

  17. Leicester City 4-2 Watford: Ranieri reaction, published at22:44 28 November

    Watford manager Claudio Ranieri, speaking to BBC Sport: "It was very emotional. I want to thank everybody. The Leicester and Watford fans. The whole stadium was shouting my name. Thank you.

    "I think at the end we created more chances than them but that is football. They deserved to win because they more determined than us. They win duels and second balls.

    "Well done to Jamie [Vardy] he is a fantastic striker. Nobody knew him before I arrive but now the whole world knows him.

    "I wanted to change the plan of the match but of course we concede again goals and that became more difficult.

    "We have to be confident. I saw a good change. We lost today but we fight and try to do our chances, but you have to score. We must be confident because we are in the right way."