Chelsea travel to Vicarage Road on Saturday as they look to build on their win against West Ham. A late Diego Costa goal ensured that Antonio Conte got off to a winning start as Chelsea manager. After a goalless first half, Eden Hazard converted a penalty almost immediately after the break to give the home team the lead. But James Collins unleashed an unstoppable volley into the net after a melee in the box resulting from a corner. As the game seemed to be drifting towards a draw, Conte made a tactical switch by taking off all his attacking midfielders and going with a direct approach. The move paid dividends as Batshuayi nodded down a long ball for Diego Costa to shoot home the winning goal as Stamford Bridge erupted. An ecstatic and expressive Conte thus had his first London derby win in his very first match.
Moving over to Vicarage Road, both the teams have met here twice with a win, draw and loss apiece. Watford last won a match against Chelsea in 1999, which is their only win the last 15 meetings between the two. Antonio Conte and Walter Mazzarri have met 7 times in the Serie A as managers and the Watford boss has won only one, pointing at things to come. Conte has won three and drawn three out of six matches he faced Mazzarri while being the Juventus manager.
Conte shifted to a more direct 4-2-4 formation late on and might want to continue with that against Watford.
Courtois will be in goal with Ivanovic at right back looking to rediscover his form from Chelsea’s title-winning season. Terry and Cahill will continue their central defensive pairing with Azpilicueta at left-back.
Matic and Kante were impressive on Monday and will look to build on their partnership. Fabregas looks to be heading towards the exit door with first-team opportunities likely to come at a premium.
Hazard and Willian will line-up on both flanks if Conte goes with a 4-2-4 set-up. The Belgian is looking sharper and more focused than last season and his form will be crucial if Chelsea are to challenge for the title. Willian was his usual industrious self and will be a key component in Conte’s plans. Batshuayi got off the bench to provide the assist for Costa and Conte will be tempted to unleash the duo from the off against Watford.