Previews

PREVIEW: WATFORD VS CHELSEA

Key Stats Chelsea are unbeaten in 13 matches against Watford in all competitions since a 1-0 Premier League defeat in September 1999. This will be both Watford and Chelsea’s first fixture on a Monday since they played out a 4-3 thriller in May last year, won by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. All three of Chelsea’s Premier League goals at Vicarage Road have come in the 80th minute or later – a 92nd-minute winner by Salomon Kalou in 2007, and goals by Michy Batshuayi and Diego Costa in 2016. Chelsea’s 50-point tally after 25 games this season is 10 fewer than at this stage last season on their way to the title. Chelsea have won only two of their nine competitive matches in 2018. Chelsea have won five consecutive Premier League matches played on a Monday since a 2-2 home draw against Tottenham Hotspur in May 2016. Only Manchester…

PREVIEW: CHELSEA VS BOURNEMOUTH

Key Stats Chelsea are unbeaten in eight league games (W5, D3), their longest such run since March 2017. Chelsea could keep five consecutive Premier League clean sheets at Stamford Bridge for the first time in three years. Eden Hazard has scored in all four of #Chelsea’s Premier League wins against Bournemouth, amassing five goals in total. (via BBC Sport) Predicted Line-up Caballero; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Cahill; Moses, Bakayoko, Kante, Alonso; Pedro, Hazard, Barkley Prediction A real worry is that Chelsea don’t have a single striker in their squad, with Michy Batshuayi now out on loan at Dortmund, and new boy Olivier Giroud unavailable. Eden Hazard has struggled in the false nine position and it’s difficult to see where the goals will come from. 1-0

PREVIEW: CHELSEA VS NEWCASTLE

Key Stats Chelsea have progressed past Newcastle in five of their last six FA Cup ties, with the Blues winning 1-0 in their most recent FA Cup encounter in 2006 thanks to a John Terry goal. Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 10 FA Cup games against Premier League opponents at Stamford Bridge (W8 D2), with Arsenal the last side to beat them on their home turf in a sixth-round replay in March 2003. Newcastle are looking to reach the FA Cup fifth round for the first time since 2006, with the Magpies falling at this stage last season, losing 3-0 to Oxford United at the Kassam. In fact, Newcastle have been eliminated in each of their last four FA Cup fourth round ties. Chelsea have reached the FA Cup fifth round in 17 of their last 19 seasons, only failing to do so in 2010/11…

PREVIEW: ARSENAL VS CHELSEA

Key Stats This will be the fifth meeting in all competitions between the two sides this season – the third time they’ve met five times in a single campaign and first since 2003-04 (also 1946-47). After failing to reach the final in five of their first six League Cup semi-finals in which they failed to win the first leg, the Gunners have progressed from two of the last three. Chelsea have lost just once in their last eight away games versus Arsenal in all competitions (W3 D4 L1). Arsenal and Chelsea have both made the League Cup final on seven previous occasions – only four teams have reached the final more times (Liverpool 12, Man Utd 9, Aston Villa 8, Spurs 8). (via Sky Sports) Predicted Line-up Caballero; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rüdiger; Moses, Bakayoko, Kante, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro Prediction Arsenal are in good form…

PREVIEW: BRIGHTON VS CHELSEA

Key Stats Brighton have lost their last seven games against Chelsea in all competitions, failing to score in six of them. Brighton’s only win against Chelsea came in the first meeting in 1933, a 2-1 home victory in the FA Cup. Chelsea could go three league away games without a win for the first time under Antonio Conte. Chelsea could also remain winless in their opening three Premier League matches of a calendar year for the first time in 23 years. Chelsea’s only away victory in six league and cup matches was 3-1 at Huddersfield Town on 12 December (W1, D4, L1). Chelsea have lost just one of their 27 Premier League matches as reigning champions versus promoted opposition (W21, D5). (via BBC Sport) Predicted Line-up Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rüdiger; Moses, Bakayoko, Kante, Alonso; Willian, Batshuayi, Hazard Prediction Chelsea are desperate for their first…

PREVIEW: CHELSEA VS NORWICH

Key Stats Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 14 games against Norwich – a run that stretches back to December 1994 (W10, D4). Norwich have failed to score in six of their last eight visits to Chelsea, netting just two goals whilst conceding 22. Chelsea were last knocked out in the FA Cup third round in 1998, which is the longest unbeaten run of any team at this stage. Chelsea are yet to win in 2018 having drawn all four games: 2-2 v Arsenal (h); 0-0 v Norwich (a); 0-0 v Arsenal (h); and 0-0 v Leicester (h). Chelsea have recorded three consecutive 0-0 draws in all competitions for the first time in their history. (via BBC Sport) Predicted Line-up Caballero; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Ampadu; Zappacosta, Bakayoko, Kante, Kenedy, Willian, Batshuayi, Pedro Prediction The players know they need to play so much better than…

PREVIEW: CHELSEA VS LEICESTER

Key Stats Chelsea have only lost once in 26 league games against Leicester at Stamford Bridge since 1965. That was a 2-0 defeat in September 2000 (W16, D9, L1). Chelsea have won seven successive home games in the league, keeping five clean sheets during that run. Antonio Conte has won 25 of his first 30 Premier League home fixtures as manager, a joint record with Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti. Mourinho and Ancelotti both failed to win their 31st home games in charge. Chelsea are unbeaten in six league matches home and away, earning 14 points out of a possible 18. N’Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater played in 37 and 35 league matches respectively for Leicester during the club’s 2015-16 title-winning season. Marcos Alonso has scored 12 Premier League goals since the start of last season, more than any other defender. (via BBC Sport) …

PREVIEW: CHELSEA VS ARSENAL

Chelsea face Arsenal for the second time in seven days as the Blues prepare for their Carabao Cup semi-final clash against the Gunners at Stamford Bridge. A late equaliser in the game in January 3rd denied Chelsea a win at the Emirates, and with this round being played over two legs, Antonio Conte’s men will undoubtedly looking to take an advantage into the away match. Arsenal has become a bit of a bogey team for the Italian manager, who has only beaten them once in six meetings, including a defeat in the FA Cup final. He will be able to pick from a fully fit squad on Wednesday, apart from new signing Ross Barkley, who is still working on a return to action. Arsenal meanwhile will be without Sead Kolasinac, Olivier Giroud, Nacho Monreal and Laurent Koscielny. All eyes will be on Alvaro Morata, who missed as…

PREVIEW: NORWICH VS CHELSEA

Chelsea’s FA Cup campaign gets underway on Saturday with a trip to Carrow Road to face Championship side Norwich City. The last meeting between the sides was back in March 2016, when Chelsea won 1-2 away from home thanks to goals from Kenedy and the now departed Diego Costa. In fact, Chelsea haven’t lost against Norwich since December 1994, when the Canaries won 3-0 against a Blues side managed by Glenn Hoddle. Antonio Conte is bound to rest some of his star players in this game, and the likes of Ethan Ampadu, Michy Batshuayi and maybe even the returning David Luiz will almost certainly start. On paper, this should be a comfortable victory, considering Chelsea have progressed from 20 of their last 21 FA Cup ties against non-Premier League sides. Norwich do have one danger man, however, who has caused Chelsea many headaches in the past. Steven Naismith…

PREVIEW: ARSENAL VS CHELSEA

Chelsea’s first game of 2018 is a London derby against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night. The fixture back in September, at Stamford Bridge, didn’t produce a single goal and both teams will be hoping to pick up a massive three points this time around. Arsene Wenger’s side have been fairly inconsistent this season. They currently sit in sixth place, seven points behind Chelsea, having already lost five games in the Premier League this season. The Gunners also face an injury crisis going into this fixture, with Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud, Sead Kolasinac, Nacho Monreal and Aaron Ramsey all not fit to play. Meanwhile, Mesut Ozil and Laurent Koscielny are also doubts. Chelsea have beaten Arsenal at the Emirates more than any other side, and the Blues should be confident going into this fixture. Eden Hazard, who was rested against Stoke City, is expected to…

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