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    Watford v Chelsea Preview: Walter Mazzari and Antonio Conte meet for first time in England

    By Alex Easley
    Walter Mazzarri's Watford started the season with a 1-1 draw at Southampton last weekend.
     Walter Mazzari and Antonio Conte will resume their personal rivalry when Watford host Chelsea at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

    The two clashed on several occasions when they were in Italy, with Conte apparently annoyed with implied suggestions that he had in fact copied Mazzarri’s formation.

    Conte and Mazzarri met seven times while in Serie A as managers, with the new Watford boss Mazzarri winning just the once.

    It was a good start for both men as Conte’s Chelsea career began with a 2-1 win over West Ham, while Mazzarri saw his Watford side drew 1-1 at Southampton.

    Antonio Conte says his relationship with Walter Mazzarri is very normal.
    The Blues’ head coach Conte said: "I saw (Mazzarri) in the managers' meeting. I spoke with him about this new experience, this is a great challenge also for him.

    "When we were in Italy and we fought for the title, Juventus against Napoli, yeah (there was a fall-out), but when you stay up and you are fighting for the title everyone fights for their club.

    "But the relationship is very normal, I have great respect for him and his work. I think he's a good manager."

    Mazzari stated: “I respect Conte as a person and a manager. I respect him a lot but friendship is a lot, it’s another thing.

    “Of course we will shake hands tomorrow. We even shook hands at the meeting of the managers at the start of the season. There is no problem but again for me friendship is very important. I have just a few friends.”
    Ben Watson is suspended for Watford's game against Chelsea.

    Watford’s record signing Isaac Success will be assessed after only returning to training on Wednesday from a hamstring injury that kept him out of the draw with Southampton.

    Brice Dja Djedje is a doubt with a foot injury and Ben Watson is suspended after he was sent off on the opening day.

    Chelsea have no fresh injury concerns but Juan Cuadrado could be omitted from the squad again despite training on Friday, with Juventus still attempting to force a transfer for the Colombia forward.

    Meanwhile Kurt Zouma remains on the side-lines with long-term knee trouble.



    Watford's only win in the last 15 league and cup meetings came at home in the first Premier League fixture between the sides 17 years ago (W1, D5, L9).


    The Hornets have only earned four wins and 17 points from 21 matches since Boxing Day.

    Their only home win in the last seven attempts was by 3-2 against relegated Aston Villa in April when Troy Deeney scored two late goals.

    Deeney has been involved in six of Watford's last seven Premier League goals, scoring four and setting up two.


    The Blues have earned an unrivalled 20 points from away matches in 2016, two more than next-best Leicester and Tottenham (W6, D2, L2).

    Antonio Conte has lost just one of his last 31 league games as a club manager (W28, D2, L1).

    Eden Hazard has scored five goals in his last six league appearances - having previously gone 29 league games without scoring.

    K.O. ­– 3PM 20/08/2016 VENUE – VICARAGE ROAD
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