Watford vs Chelsea Preview: Old managerial rivals come head to head in derby clash

The game at Vicarage Road will re-spark the old rivalry between Mazzarri and Conte.

Watford vs Chelsea Preview: Old managerial rivals come head to head in derby clash
Image: VAVEL UK / Jonny Walsh & Harry Robinson

Antonio Conte will look to be continuing his good start at Chelsea with another win while Watford manager, Walter Mazzarri, will be hoping for to improve on their last game. The two new arrivals will come head to head at 3pm on the August 20.

The opening match of the season saw Chelsea secure a 2-1 win over London rivals West Ham with goals from Eden Hazard and Diego Costa. The blues already look to have improved from last season, as they were stable defensively while showing creativity further up the pitch.

Watford on the other and started their campaign with a one-all draw at Southampton.  Etienne Capoue opened the scoring with just ten minutes of the whistle. The Saints then equalised early in the second half. Ben Watson was then dismissed after a foul on Shane Long, despite being on the pitch for only eleven minutes.  Yet the Hornets’ tenacious performance will leave there fans optimistic for the season ahead.

Last season saw both teams collect two points from this fixture, with the match at Stamford Bridge ending 2-2 while the reverse fixture ended in a goalless draw. The Hornets have not recorded a win over the blues since 1999.

The two Italians

An intriguing battle to watch this match will be the personal encounter between Conte and Mazzarri. During their time in Italy the two have clashed heads on numerous occasion with the cause thought to be that Conte ‘copied’ Mazzarri’s tactics as both are known to play with three at the back. Despite this, Mazzarri has only beaten Conte once out of the seven meetings between the two Italians.  It is likely that only Watford will start with three at the back in a 3-5-2 formation, while Conte will favour a 4-1-4-1 with the full backs pushing forward.

Mazzarri and Conte have an intriguing rivalry | Image: Sky Sports
Mazzarri and Conte have an intriguing rivalry | Image: Sky Sports

Team news

Mazzarri will be without a number of players for this clash, as club-record signing Isaac Success is struggling with a leg injury while fellow summer signing Brice Dja Djedje is out with a foot injury. The Hornets will also be without Watson as he received a red card in their clash with Southampton last weekend.

Chelsea, however, will be missing both Kurt Zouma and Marco Van Ginkel both are recovering from a knee injury, as well as John Obi Mikel who is with Nigeria at the Olympic games.

Predicted line-ups

The injuries to Success and Dja Djedje mean that it is likely Watford will field an unchanged team. The fact that Watson was a substitute last game, suggest that his suspension shouldn’t go a miss. Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo will probably continue up front as the two are vital to Watford’s attack.

Predicted line up: Gomes, Cathcart, Prodl, Britos, Holebas, Guedioura Capoue, Behrami, Amrabat, Ighalo Deeney.

Chelsea will probably also field the same eleven. The only problem Conte could face is who to field in the midfield alongside N’Golo Kante who was valuable to their win last week.

Predicted line up: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry, Ivanovic, Kante, Hazard, Fabregas, Oscar, Willian, Costa.