WATFORD host Chelsea in Saturday's evening Premier League kick-off. Chris Clark (@ChrisClark1975) shares his verdict.
Watford v Chelsea | Saturday 2nd November 2019, 17:30 | Sky Sports
Frank Lampard's Chelsea stride into Vicarage Road on Saturday evening, and whilst you expect them to pick up three points, it won't be as easy as you would initially think.
Quique Sanchez Flores appeared a strange reappointment at Watford from the outside but he has made them tighter at the back. In the last three league games, the Hornets have only conceded once, and that was a dubious late goal away to Spurs. Compare that to the previous seven league games, in which they conceded 20 times.
This tightening up at the back is due to Watford reverting to five at the back, and whilst that has helped at one end of the pitch, it has had a knock-on effect at the other end. The Hertfordshire club look insipid last week and are definitely missing captain Troy Deeney, but even with Deeney involved in matches, Watford have only scored five times this season, and their shot conversion rate is the lowest in the league at 5.6%.
Deeney's replacements aren't prolific at this level, and also injury prone. Andre Gray is not quite Premier League level and Danny Welbeck, is well Danny Welbeck. Sadly the boy is never fit. Flores has been playing Gerard Deulofeu as a front man, and whilst the Spaniard's play is pleasing on the eye, he's not going to get you goals on a regular basis in this league.
Chelsea meanwhile surprised this writer with their attacking prowess away to Burnley but I can't see Watford being as open as Burnley were. In fact Ben Foster in the Watford goal has only faced 3.3 shots on goal during the last three league games. Flores has got Watford hard to break down.
You have to go back to late September when Chelsea last dropped points in the league, when they gave Liverpool a really tough match and were unlucky not to come away with any points in that encounter. Chelsea are a team on the up, and now have plenty of attacking options from the bench.
Michy Batshuayi is proving an excellent back-up striker. He has fired in goals in two of the last three games. In fact, his strike against Manchester United in the EFL Cup was superb. Considering Watford will be performing a deep block and proving a tough nut to crack, Batshuayi's poaching and pace off the bench could prove vital, and he is best priced at 9/2 to be the Last Goalscorer. Well worth considering.
Watford know that their stay in the league won't be decided on games like Saturday's, but they can still offer stiff opposition in being difficult to breakdown. Chelsea however are on a roll in the league, and I expect that to continue, but don't expect lots of thrills and spills at the Vic. Back the Blues to win with Under 2.5 Goals at 15/4 (Coral).