Chelsea host a resurgent Watford at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day. The Blues are in torrid form this season but picked up a vital win against Sunderland last week which could serve as a confidence booster for the team as they can string together a few wins now. New Manager Guus Hiddink too will be keen to make a good impression in his first game in charge.
The key members of the squad like Eden Hazard and Nemanja Matic seem to be getting back to good form so it will be some welcome news for Hiddink who will be out to prove a point after getting sacked by the Dutch FA. It will be interesting to see how the players respond to the new manager.
Chelsea Predicted Lineup:
Thibaut Courtois (GK) – The Belgian has looked a bit rusty after coming back from injury, but he will start because Chelsea need their goalkeeper to dominate the box during corners and set pieces.
Branislav Ivanovic (RB) – The Serbian right back has been average at best in the past few games, but Baba Rahman has also been pretty bad, so Hiddink might prefer experience in his first game in charge.
Kurt Zouma (CB) – The 22-year old has been in good form recently and has made the position beside Terry permanently his.
John Terry (CB) – After a horrible start to the season, he has started putting respectable performance of late and has been unlucky, but he needs to be very careful against Ighalo as he’d look to exploit Terry’s lack of Pace.
Cesar Azpilicueta (LB) – The Spaniard has been one of the better players this season for Chelsea, and will obviously start.
Nemanja Matic (CDM) – The Serbian needs to help out Terry this weekend against Deeney and Ighalo or Chelsea might be in for a long afternoon.
Cesc Fabregas (CM) – There are doubts in the Chelsea camp whether he’ll be at Chelsea after the end of January, but right now he is the best option they have who can start ahead of Matic and provide gameplay for the blues.
Willian (CM) – Chelsea’s best player this season and has been very energetic, Hiddink would need that. The Blues might also rely upon him for his creativity in the final third.
Eden Hazard (RWM) – Still hasn’t scored since Mourinho claimed that Hazard is better than Ronaldo and is often claimed as the chief culprit in Mourinho’s sacking. Will be interesting to see how he does without him.
Pedro Rodriguez (LWM) – Bit hot and cold recently but that is expected from a new signing, but needs to have a big game here. And especially expectations must be high for him from Hiddink after he scored a brilliant goal last week.
Diego Costa (ST) – Has to improve. Surely. He’s a liability if he doesn’t score, maybe he should be looking into the fact that he has only scored 3 goals this season.