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    Chelsea v Watford: Match Preview

    By Alex Easley
    Boxing Day football means we should all expect Christmas jumpers and Santa hats in the stands up and down the country!
    First off… IT’S CHRISTMAS! Merry Christmas to all those reading this today or Boxing Day. I hope you have the best Christmas and enjoy the festive football. Speaking of which, here is my preview for a big game at Stamford Bridge between Chelsea and a very much in-form Watford:

    Belgian star Eden Hazard may return for the Blues as Guus Hiddink begins his second spell in charge at the club as Watford make the trip to the Bridge.

    Hazard has not featured since limping off with a hip problem in the 2-1 defeat by Leicester on December 14th.

    However, he has returned to training and could make an appearance at some point in the game as Chelsea look to secure back-to-back victories in the league for the first time this season.
    Eden Hazard could feature in Chelsea Boxing Day game against Watford after returning to training.
    Guus Hiddink, who is the interim manager until the end of the season has said: "Yesterday I spoke fully to the squad and of course we talked a bit about the past: why I'm here, the reasons why we are down.

    "We cannot ignore what has happened in the recent past, but I asked them and told them to look in the mirror and be hypercritical and give the best for the team.

    "They have to look forward. There must be a great desire to play, yes? If you don't have that desire, please knock on my door and we'll talk - we'll talk briefly."

    Watford have won the last three games on the other hand, and possess two of the hottest strikers in the league currently in Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney.

    The duo have helped Quique Sanchez Flores’ side climb up to seventh in the table, and could go into the top four with a win and other results go their way.
    Chelsea will have to stop the in-form duo of Deeney (left) and Ighalo (right) to get anything.
    Head coach Flores had this to say on the challenge ahead: "It's tougher when a team have changed the manager. The team know that they need to show for the new manager. But we are ready for the experience.

    "They play well and they have lots of experience and quality. We are expecting a very tough match.

    "I had Guus for three years as a coach. I have a very good relationship with him, he is a very nice man.

    "He's always thinking about the ball, about possession. He's worried about the players feeling free. It was 21 years ago - but things change."

    TEAM NEWS

    With Hazard potentially making his Chelsea return, Radamel Falcao is the only definite absentee for Chelsea.

    Watford will be forced to make at least one change from the side which beat Liverpool last weekend as Nathan Ake is on loan from the hosts so is unable to play, while Ikechi Anya could return to the side.

    Defenders Tommie Hoban and Joel Ekstrand remain sidelined through injury.

    MATCH FACTS

    Head-to-head

    The aggregate scoreline in the last four meetings at Stamford Bridge is 16-0 to Chelsea.

    Three of those four games were in the FA Cup, with the Blues most recently winning 3-0 in the third round in January.

    Chelsea

    Chelsea have not lost on Boxing Day in 10 matches since 2003 (W6, D4).

    In his previous tenure as manager of Chelsea, Guus Hiddink lost just once in all competitions (W16, D5, L1).

    Hiddink has the best win ratio of managers to have taken charge of four or more Premier League games (84.6%).

    Only Aston Villa and West Brom have lost more home league games this season than Chelsea's four.

    Watford

    Watford have won four consecutive top-flight games for the first time since April 1987.

    They have won - and kept a clean sheet - in three of their last four home league games.

    The Hornets have won six of their last eight league matches.

    They are currently third in the Premier League form table behind Leicester City and Crystal Palace.

    Odion Ighalo has scored in four successive Premier League appearances, equalling Troy Deeney's club record set earlier this season.

    Ighalo has scored 28 league goals in 2015, more than any other player in England's top four divisions.


    K.O. 3PM 26/12/2015
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    Item Reviewed: Chelsea v Watford: Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Alex Easley
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