Chelsea V Watford at Stamford Bridge : Match Preview

14 May 2017 05:34

Chelsea look to keep momentum ahead of FA Cup final with Arsenal

Antonio Conte faces another challenge in the final two home games for Premier League winners Chelsea - balancing sentiment with planning for the FA Cup final.

Chelsea, who clinched the title with Friday's 1-0 win at West Brom, play Watford on Monday night and relegated Sunderland on May 21, before the May 27 final with Arsenal.

John Terry will hope to lift a 16th and final major trophy with Chelsea at Wembley and will have bid farewell to Stamford Bridge by then.

The club captain has said potential goodbyes before, but there will be no fourth successive one-year contract extension this summer.

The 36-year-old has 715 appearances and could make three more, if he features in the remaining three games at the end of his 22 years of service.

Head coach Conte sees Terry as understudy to David Luiz in the centre of his three-man defence. And Luiz knows Chelsea must maintain momentum.

"If I say I'm not thinking about winning the double, I am a liar," Luiz said on chelseafc.com.

"Of course we think about this, but we need to think day by day, rest well, keep ourselves very good in these next two games to have a top performance against Arsenal.

"It will be a difficult game against a fantastic team, so we need to be at a high level."

Conte will try to balance preparations for Wembley and keeping his leading players sharp with rewarding those who have had less game time this term.

Terry was an unused substitute at West Brom and has not started in the Premier League since the September 11 draw with Swansea but will be looking for a Stamford Bridge farewell.

Michy Batshuayi could get his first Premier League start against Watford after scoring the title-clinching goal on his 18th substitute appearance and N'Golo Kante could return after missing out on a Premier League appearance for a third time this season.

The visit of Watford may also offer a chance for some of Nathaniel Chalobah, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ola Aina to show Conte there is no need for swathes of new recruits for next season's return to the Champions League.

Watford manager Walter Mazzarri is in no doubt Chelsea deserve the plaudits as champions, but remains determined his players will not get swept up in the title celebrations at Stamford Bridge.

While Chelsea are preparing for a party atmosphere in front of their fans, Mazzarri must lift his players to make sure they avoid the campaign fading out now they have secured top-flight status once again.

"Congratulations to Chelsea. They have had a great season and deserve it, they were better than everyone else in the Premier League," said the Italian.

"They have to celebrate over the weekend and don't think about our game."

Mazzarri added: "We have to play as we did (against Everton) at Chelsea.

"Of course, these players are giving me a lot of satisfaction - they are giving everything and trying their best.

"Also Everton had reached their objective, and look how they played, the nice thing in England is teams never give up until it is finished."

Watford were dealt another defensive injury blow by the loss of Christian Kabasele to a hamstring problem during the first half at Goodison Park on Friday.

With centre-back Miguel Britos having recently joined Craig Cathcart and Younes Kaboul in a busy treatment room, Mazzarri admits resources have been stretched.

"I am very angry because everything is happening in the same positions. We are now missing four defenders and it is very unlucky," said Mazzarri, who will at least be able to call on midfielder Tom Cleverley, who was not eligible to face parent club Everton under the terms of his loan deal.


Source: PAR


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