Watford vs Chelsea LIVE: Premier League result, final score and reaction tonight

·28-min read
Watford vs Chelsea LIVE: Premier League result, final score and reaction tonight

Chelsea maintained their lead at the top of the Premier League as Hakim Ziyech came off the bench to secure a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Watford on Wednesday.

Thomas Tuchel’s side were not at their best at Vicarage Road but had enough attacking quality to emerge with three important points and stay ahead of Manchester City and Liverpool.

After a 32-minute suspension while a fan was treated for a medical emergency, Chelsea took the lead when Mason Mount coolly converted after a well-worked move in the 29th minute.

But Watford deservedly levelled before the break through Nigerian Emmanuel Dennis.

Ziyech came on for injured defender Trevoh Chalobah on the hour and struck the winner 12 minutes later with the outstanding Mount turning provider.

Chelsea lead the standings with 33 points from 14 games, with City on 32 and Liverpool on 31.

Claudio Ranieri’s side will take heart from the way they pushed the league leaders but are just one place and three points above the relegation zone.

Tuchel made six changes from the side that drew with Manchester United at the weekend and Chelsea looked disjointed for much of the evening.

Watford were the better team either side of the suspension but fell behind to Chelsea’s first move of quality.

The ball was played to Marcos Alonso down the left and he slipped the ball into Kai Havertz who shifted it across to the unmarked Mount who had time to pick his spot.

Watford responded well and equalised when Moussa Sissoko powered forward and played in Dennis whose shot took a deflection on its way past Edouard Mendy.

The hosts could have been ahead with Mendy making a fine save and Sissoko scuffing a decent opportunity.

The quality on Chelsea’s bench eventually told, however, as Ziyech came on to secure the points.

Mount was played into space down the left and his low cross was met by Ziyech whose powerful first-time shot beat Watford keeper Daniel Bachmann for pace.

Watford vs Chelsea Premier League

  • 13’: Play stopped at Vicarage Road due to medical emergency in the crowd

  • 14’: Play resumed after 30-minute stoppage, with fan stabilised following medical emergency

  • 29’: Mount fires Chelsea ahead after Watford make fast start

  • 43’: Dennis continues hot streak to pull Watford level

  • 72’ : Substitute Ziyech restores Chelsea’s lead on the break

Hakim Ziyech seals Chelsea victory over valiant Watford after medical emergency in crowd

Wednesday 1 December 2021 22:37 , Jamie Braidwood

Yet again, Chelsea were far from perfect. But at a bitterly cold Vicarage Road, in the face of bold Watford resistance and a struggling sense of self, they emerged battered, bruised, and ultimately victorious by two goals to one on a night that went on for longer than it should have.

Mason Mount had given Chelsea the lead, then provided the winner as Hakim Ziyech bagged his first goal of the Premier League season after Emmanuel Dennis’ had equalised at the end of the first half with his sixth. But those details, indeed the match itself, were almost rendered irrelevant after a fan suffered a cardiac arrest in the stands.

Read the full report from Vithushan Ehantharajah, here:

Hakim Ziyech seals Chelsea victory over valiant Watford

Full time: Watford 1-2 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 23:45 , Jamie Braidwood

Chelsea’s Mason Mount, speaking to Amazon Prime:

“It wasn’t our best performance tonight, by far. We came in from the break and said, ‘We hadn’t started yet, we hadn’t got going’. But these are the games you grind out and get the three points. It was a tough one, there were tackles flying in and it’s a tough place to come to get three points and play good football because they made it difficult. So we’re buzzing to get the win.

“We never stop fighting - we never stop going until the final whistle. The three points is big for us after the last game.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Full time: Watford 1-2 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 22:35 , Jamie Braidwood

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel says his team “stole” the three points at Vicarage Road and was very critical of his side’s performance when speaking to Amazon Prime.

"That’s not us,” he said. “We were absolutely not ready today for this match. I missed maybe to find the right approach to make my team ready. We had the break due to very sad circumstances – hopefully the person is better. Even this break after the first 11 minutes did not change our approach. We did not cope with the pressure, with the first ball, second ball.

“We had a lot of changes but too many faults. It did not get better. The only thing we could do was hang in there and focus on the easy things. It was a lucky win.

"Havertz was very strong today. I felt he was the one player reaching his level today. We missed some players. We had some players overloaded. We stole three points. We don’t have to talk around it. For the first time it feels like a lucky win."

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Full time: Watford 1-2 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 22:06 , Jamie Braidwood

Chelsea stay top of the Premier League but they were pushed to the end by Watford, who remain 17 in the table. There wasn’t much to separate the teams by the end.

But that’s the sort of wins you need to grind out if you want to be champions. They stay a point ahead of Manchester City and two of Liverpool - all three teams won tonight.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

FULL TIME: Watford 1-2 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 22:02 , Jamie Braidwood

There was late drama as Femenia’s shot from the edge was deflected out for a corner! Bachmann goes up but Rudiger met the cross with an important header, and there’s the full-time whistle!

It wasn’t pretty from Chelsea but they ground that one out.

Watford 1-2 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 22:01 , Jamie Braidwood

90+4 mins: Rose’s corner is cleared at the front post by Mount before Loftus-Cheek draws a foul from Ekong as he looked to shield to ball.

Chelsea are almost there.

Watford 1-2 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 22:00 , Jamie Braidwood

90+3 mins: Kucka rattles a fierce drive straight down the throat of Mendy! The Chelsea goalkeeper palms the ball over the bar for another corner.

Watford 1-2 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 21:59 , Jamie Braidwood

90+1 mins: Watford work it nicely in the right corner but Chelsea have lots of men back to block the route into the box. Femenia’s cross is cleared for a corner by Alonso but Lukaku rises highest to head clear. It only goes as far as Dennis on the edge of the box and he is caught late by Pulisic to earn Watford a free kick.

Watford 1-2 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 21:56 , Jamie Braidwood

90 mins: There will be SIX minutes of added time at Vicarage Road, and that draws a late burst of encouragement from the Watford fans.

Watford 1-2 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 21:55 , Jamie Braidwood

88 mins: Block! Ngakia cuts it back to King in the box and with his back to goal, he lays it off to Kucka. He shoots at goal but it’s blocked out for a corner by Ziyech. Thiago clears the Watford corner.

Watford 1-2 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 21:54 , Jamie Braidwood

86 mins: Watford have been unable to maintain the high press which disrupted Chelsea in the first half. Can they find a final push? Substitute Jeremy Ngakia tries to cut inside Loftus-Cheek in the box but the Chelsea midfielder steps in to win the tackle and draw the foul.

Watford 1-2 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 21:52 , Jamie Braidwood

84 mins: Rose crunches into a tackle on Ziyech which leaves the Chelsea man needing some treatment. There’s been a fair bit of that tonight and Rose is booked.

Watford 1-2 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 21:50 , Jamie Braidwood

83 mins: Lukaku has also made a big difference since coming on. He holds the ball up well in a central position before slipping it onto Havertz, who plays it on to Pulisic. The forward then looks to clip it back to Lukaku at the back post but Bachmann comes out to claim the ball.

Watford 1-2 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 21:49 , Jamie Braidwood

81 mins: CHANCE! Ziyech almost wraps it up with his second of the night! Watford push forward before Chelsea scramble clear. Havertz does well to hold the ball up before picking out Ziyech with a clipped cross - but his header was straight at Bachmann!

Watford 1-2 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 21:44 , Jamie Braidwood

78 mins: Now can Chelsea hold on? The introduction of Ziyech has improved them but this has been far from a vintage display.

GOAL! Watford 1-2 Chelsea (ZIYECH 72')

Wednesday 1 December 2021 21:37 , Jamie Braidwood

It’s the substitute who fires Chelsea in front! He starts and finishes the move following a cut-back from Mount!

Watford 1-1 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 21:34 , Jamie Braidwood

69 mins: Havertz drives forwards with a sharp change of pace and suddenly space opens up for a shot. The ball takes a deflection but this time it carries it straight into Mendy’s arms. Azpilicueta makes way and on comes Lukaku, with Pulisic moving over to right wing-back.

Watford 1-1 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 21:31 , Jamie Braidwood

64 mins: Ziyech’s first meaningful contribution sees the midfielder receive a yellow card for cynically stopping a Watford counter-attack. Lukaku is warming up and will surely be introduced shortly by Tuchel.

Watford 1-1 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 21:25 , Jamie Braidwood

58 mins: Chalobah can’t continue - it looked like he had pulled his hamstring. Hakim Ziyech is going to come on to replace him.

Watford 1-1 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 21:23 , Jamie Braidwood

54 mins: There’s concern for Chelsea as both Mendy and Chalobah go down with injuries.

Watford 1-1 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 21:20 , Jamie Braidwood

49 mins: CLOSE! Good start to the second half from Chelsea. They fly forward through Havertz, who tees up Pulisic. Watford get back well and he is crowded out before Mount sees his shot blocked.

KICK-OFF! Watford 1-1 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 21:11 , Jamie Braidwood

Saul Niguez is removed by Tuchel at the break, with Thiago Silva replacing him.

Both of Saul’s Premier Legaue starts have now ended in being taken off at half-time. Ouch.

Half time: Watford 1-1 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 21:06 , Jamie Braidwood

It looks like Thiago Silva could be coming on for Chelsea at the break. There are a number of contenders to be Tuchel’s first substitute, given how poorly they have played at times. They’ve badly missed Reece James on the right wing while the midfield duo of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Saul Niguez has been overran.

HALF-TIME! Watford 1-1 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 20:55 , Jamie Braidwood

David Coots bring the first half to an end at Vicarage Road, almost an hour and a half after it kicked off.

Play was stopped for an medical emergency in the crowd but the fan was thankfully stabilised before being taken to hospital.

On the pitch, Chelsea took the lead through Mason Mount despite getting off to a sloppy start. The Premier League leaders had looked disjointed but Mount finished off a fine move to give them the lead against the run of play.

It didn’t take long for Watford to hit back. It was a fourth goal in five Premier League games from the in-form Emmanuel Dennis that brought them level and it sets us up nicely ahead of the second half.

Watford 1-1 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 20:55 , Jamie Braidwood

49 mins: Ekong clatters into Mount with a robust challenge outside the box. The Watford defender is booked and Mount hobbles away after picking himself up.

Alonso’s free kick is headed clear.

Watford 1-1 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 20:53 , Jamie Braidwood

48 mins: CHANCE! Watford look rampant and they should be ahead before half-time! Dennis is again involved and the ball is slipped through to Sissoko, who beats the Chelsea line. He just has Mendy to beat from inside the area but he scuffs his shot as he looks to strike across goal, and it’s a comfortable save. But what a chance!

Watford 1-1 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 20:51 , Jamie Braidwood

47 mins: Watford earn a free kick on the right edge of the box, with Alonso booked for the foul. The hosts look to slide it across to Rose outside the ‘D’ but his shot is blocked.

We’re into five minutes of time added on.

GOAL! Watford 1-1 Chelsea (DENNIS 43’)

Wednesday 1 December 2021 20:46 , Jamie Braidwood

Watford are back in it, and it’s no less than what they deserve! Dennis continues his fine form as he beats Mendy from inside the box, after shifting the ball away from the challenge of Rudiger. The goal came after Loftus-Cheek lost the ball in midfield, with Sissoko powering clear before sliding the ball through. Great goal, and we’re level!

Watford 0-1 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 20:45 , Jamie Braidwood

40 mins: Both players are back on the pitch and play resumes. Even though the clock was stopped during the medical emergency earlier in the half, there has still been several breaks of play to deal with injuries, so we should still have plenty of added time.

Watford 0-1 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 20:45 , Jamie Braidwood

40 mins: Both players are back on the pitch and play resumes. Even though the clock was stopped during the medical emergency earlier in the half, there has still been several breaks of play to deal with injuries, so we should still have plenty of added time.

Watford 0-1 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 20:42 , Jamie Braidwood

38 mins: A nasty clash of heads between Loftus-Cheek and Troost-Ekong sees play stopped as both player receive treatment.

Watford 0-1 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 20:39 , Jamie Braidwood

35 mins: SAVE! Strong stop again from Mendy to keep Chelsea in front! Watford swing the ball over from the right and it makes its way all the through to Danny Rose, who volleys into the ground from the angle. Mendy, to be fair, makes it look easy as he palms the volley clear.

Watford 0-1 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 20:35 , Jamie Braidwood

32 mins: NO GOAL! Chelsea have the ball in the net but Kai Havertz was offside when he received the slipped ball from Pulisic.

Lovely finish though.

GOAL! Watford 0-1 Chelsea (MOUNT 29’)

Wednesday 1 December 2021 20:32 , Jamie Braidwood

Brilliant goal from Chelsea as they take the lead, you have to say, against the run of play! Rudiger starts the move with a clipped ball down the left to Alonso, who timed his run well before taking it down with a lovely touch. He cut it back to Havertz who then squared to Mount, who buried the finish past Bachmann.

Watford 0-0 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 20:29 , Jamie Braidwood

25 mins: Rose snaps into a tackle on Azpilicueta as he looked to receive the switch of play from Mendy. Watford have maintained their fast start and are getting right up into Chelsea’s faces - the visitors have not enjoyed that so far.

Watford 0-0 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 20:29 , Jamie Braidwood

25 mins: Rose snaps into a tackle on Azpilicueta as he looked to receive the switch of play from Mendy. Watford have maintained their fast start and are getting right up into Chelsea’s faces - the visitors have not enjoyed that so far.

Watford 0-0 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 20:26 , Jamie Braidwood

23 mins: Chalobah concedes possession cheaply as Rose steals in to intercept on the edge of the Chelsea box. Rudiger clears his cross before Watford sent it long into the box again, but Chalobah is there to clean up with a composed header back to Mendy.

Watford 0-0 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 20:24 , Jamie Braidwood

20 mins: Chelsea flight the ball over the top to Havertz, who brings it down and lays it off to Mount. Watford are able to recover and the Chelsea move breaks down, but that was their first spell of possession inside the Watford half.

Watford 0-0 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 20:22 , Jamie Braidwood

19 mins: POST! Chelsea strike the woodwork with their first effort of the match! The ball breaks to Mason Mount in the box after Loftus-Cheek nods it on, but the midfielder’s fierce volley from the angle rattles the frame of the goal!

Watford 0-0 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 20:20 , Jamie Braidwood

17 mins: Louza hits his first effort into the wall before dragging the rebound wide of goal - bit of a waste, that.

Chelsea need to wake up here, as Watford still look as sharp as they were before the stoppage.

Watford 0-0 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 20:19 , Jamie Braidwood

16 mins: Saul hauls down Dennis on the edge of the box and is booked. This free-kick is in a promising position for the hosts...

KICK-OFF! Watford 0-0 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 20:16 , Jamie Braidwood

We’re back underway at Vicarage Road but most importantly the fan is now in a stabilised condition.

Chelsea were incredibly poor before the stoppage, while the break have helped them? Or can Watford continue their fast start?

Watford 0-0 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 20:10 , Jamie Braidwood

The PA at Vicarage Road has announced that the fan suffered a cardiac arrest but was stabilised before being taken to hospital.

No matter what happens in the rest of the game, that is brilliant news.

Watford 0-0 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 20:06 , Jamie Braidwood

The Watford and Chelsea players are back out onto the pitch at Vicarage Road.

There will be a five-minute warm-up before the match resumes.

Watford 0-0 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 20:05 , Jamie Braidwood

The fan has now been carried out by medical staff, to applause in Vicarage Road.

Watford 0-0 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 20:02 , Jamie Braidwood

The fan in the crowd has “stabilised”, according to Amazon Prime, and will be taken to hospital.

Vicarage Road is directly next to Watford General Hospital.

Watford vs Chelsea paused due to medical emergency in crowd

Wednesday 1 December 2021 19:57 , Jamie Braidwood

The Premier League match between Watford and Chelsea was paused after 13 minutes at Vicarage Road due to a medical emergency in the crowd.

The players left the field after Chelsea full-back Marcos Alonso saw members of the crowd calling for help, with the medical teams from both clubs attending to the person in question.

Watford vs Chelsea paused due to medical emergency in crowd

Watford 0-0 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 19:56 , Jamie Braidwood

25 mins: A further update from the TV production says that the players will not be coming back out onto the pitch until they know that the match will continue. Danny Rose, who was set to replace Masina before play was suspended, is out there on the pitch and is continuing his warm-up.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Watford 0-0 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 19:51 , Jamie Braidwood

19 mins: The commentators on Amazon Prime have been told that the players will be coming out onto the pitch in five minutes, before taking part in a short warm-up.

Hopefully that means that the fan in the stands is ok after receiving treatment.

Watford 0-0 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 19:44 , Jamie Braidwood

13 mins: Both teams have now left the pitch due to the medical emergency in the crowd.

Watford 0-0 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 19:42 , Jamie Braidwood

12 mins: Another reason for the delay of play is that there appears to be a medical emergency in the crowd at Vicarage Road. Referee David Coote is calling both teams back towards the tunnel.

Watford 0-0 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 19:40 , Jamie Braidwood

9 mins: Watford left back Masina is the latest player to go down for treatment - he looks like he’s pulled a muscle and is set to join Watford’s lengthy injury list.

Thomas Tuchel is not at all pleased with how his side have started this one. Chelsea have been very sloppy so far.

Watford 0-0 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 19:39 , Jamie Braidwood

7 mins: Mendy then comes under pressure from King with the ball at his feet - he turns towards his goal line before uncomfortably clearing for a throw in.

Watford maintain their pressure and swing another ball into the box. Mendy comes out to claim but is caught by Azpilicueta when collecting the cross.

He limps slightly as he gets back up but he looks set to continue.

Watford 0-0 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 19:36 , Jamie Braidwood

5 mins: Save! Watford go close again! Femenia whips in a teasing ball from the right and it causes uncertainty in the Chelsea box. It evades King before it deflects off Azpilicueta's knee, and it takes a superb diving stop from the goalkeeper to keep it out.

Watford 0-0 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 19:34 , Jamie Braidwood

4 mins: King and Christensen compete for a high ball and the Watford forward catches the defender with an accidental stray arm. He’s down for treatment.

Watford 0-0 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 19:33 , Jamie Braidwood

3 mins: Close! Alonso has had a shaky start to this one and Cleverly shoves him off the ball before beating him to the by-line. He cuts it back into the box and picks out Pedro, whose shot is cleared off the line by Chalobah!

Watford 0-0 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 19:31 , Jamie Braidwood

1 min: Watford look to press Chelsea from the start and Alonso concedes possession in the corner as they looked to play out from the back. It’s a high-tempo start from the hosts.

KICK-OFF! Watford 0-0 Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 19:30 , Jamie Braidwood

The players take the knee and we’re underway!

Watford vs Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 19:29 , Jamie Braidwood

The players are out onto the pitch at Vicarage Road ahead of tonight’s London derby.

Can Chelsea stay top of the Premier League, or will Watford claim another home scalp under Ranieri to improve their survival odds?

Kick-off is next!

Watford vs Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 19:22 , Jamie Braidwood

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel, speaking to Amazon Prime:

“I was happy with the performance and the game [in the 1-1 draw with Manchester United] on Sunday and two days later you’re in the next game, it’s raining, it’s cold outside, and we have to match our own standards.

“We have made some changes to keep the intensity going but hopefully we can get the performance we need to get the three points.

“There are so many games coming up and we have made some changes due to injuries and overload, but the group is strong and we trust the group. Hopefully they can prove it.”

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Watford vs Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 19:14 , Jamie Braidwood

Watford manager Claudio Ranieri, speaking to Amazon Prime:

[On facing former team Chelsea] “Every time I get emotional. I’m an older manager and I have a lot of former teams behind me. After the Leicester defeat we want to react. We know Chelsea are one of the best team in Europe and today we have to do our best to take a positive result.

[On injuries] “I have a very good group and I hope this group can help each other and try to fight. The fans have to help us because in front of us there are so many champions and they can do something special.

“We have to play our match. At Leicester we created chances but didn’t score the goals. Now I hope we create the chances and score the goals.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Watford vs Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 19:07 , Jamie Braidwood

On Tuesday, Thomas Tuchel told Andreas Christensen it is time to “walk the talk” by committing his future to Chelsea following protracted contract discussions - and the defender finds himself back in his manager’s starting line-up tonight.

Christensen, whose existing deal expires at the end of the season, has seemingly stalled on putting pen to paper and was an unused substitute for the club’s last three fixtures ahead of tonight.

“We have to hope that it influences the contract situation a little bit,” Tuchel said, referencing Christensen’s spell on the sidelines.

“As I understood it, the club wants the same, the player wants the same, the coach wants the same: to stay. And that’s why for me it was a zero-problem situation.

“But we are waiting a long time now for confirmation and it’s on Andreas to act. How he acts on the pitch, he needs to act now off the pitch and walk the talk because he tells us that he loves Chelsea.

“He tells us that he wants to stay. He is a big part of a big club and I think he is a perfect fit and I think his career here is by far not finished. But, like I said, it’s on him. We want the commitment and hopefully we get it.”

Thomas Tuchel tells Andreas Christensen to ‘walk the talk’ over new Chelsea deal

Watford vs Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 19:00 , Jamie Braidwood

Although the absence of Ismaila Sarr is undoubtedly a blow for Watford tonight, it has been softened by the availability of the in-form Emmanuel Dennis.

The forward, who was an injury doubt ahead of this one, has three goals in his last four Premier Legaue matches and his tally for the season stands at five - that’s one more than Chelsea’s top-scorer Reece James.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Watford vs Chelsea: Premier League set for three-team title race?

Wednesday 1 December 2021 18:52 , Jamie Braidwood

Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool are all in action this evening and with the Premier League’s top three separated by just two points coming into tonight, it feels as if the title race is entering a new chapter as we head into the hectic Christmas schedule.

With recent seasons usually coming down to a two-team race, if even that, to decide the title - what are the chances of all three of Chelsea, City and Liverpool keeping up with each other and taking the season down to the wire?

Miguel Delaney takes a look as the Premier League prepares for matches to start coming thick and fast.

Is the Premier League about to get its first proper three-team title race?

Watford vs Chelsea: No James, Lukaku returns

Wednesday 1 December 2021 18:42 , Jamie Braidwood

There is lots to get through in that Chelsea team news, and perhaps the biggest line is that top-scorer Reece James has not passed his late fitness test and is not in tonight’s squad. That means Chelsea are without both of their first-choice wing backs, with Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso operating out wide.

Andreas Christensen makes his first start in four matches, and it will be interesting to see how he responds following Thomas Tuchel’s comments on his contract situation, while Trevoh Chalobah stays in the three-man defence, alongside Antonio Rudiger.

In a further blow for Chelsea, Jorginho has joined N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic on the sidelines, so Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Saul Niguez form a rather makeshift-looking midfield duo.

Mason Mount returns to the starting line-up and joins Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz in attack, while Romelu Lukaku remains on the bench following his return from an ankle injury.

Watford vs Chelsea: Team news

Wednesday 1 December 2021 18:31 , Jamie Braidwood

Watford: Bachmann; Femenia, Cathcart, Troost-Ekong, Masina; Louza; Joao Pedro, Cleverley, Sissoko, Dennis; King

Chelsea: Mendy; Chalobah, Christensen, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Loftus-Cheek, Saul, Alonso; Pulisic, Havertz, Mount

Watford vs Chelsea: Better call...

Wednesday 1 December 2021 18:15 , Jamie Braidwood

Saul Niguez could be handed some rare Premier League minutes tonight as Chelsea attempt to deal with a number of injury problems in their midfield department.

The Spaniard has played just three minutes of Premier League football since he was subbed off at half-time in his debut against Aston Villa in September.

Thomas Tuchel said this week that the former Atletico Madrid star needed time to adapt following his move from Spain, and that the midfielder will be ready tonight if Chelsea are without Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic.

Tuchel said: “In the moment, where we have injured players in the midfield, even Jorgi doubtful for tomorrow, it’s the moment for him to be ready and I have the feeling since many days that he is ready and can show what he wants to show."

More here:

Thomas Tuchel explains Saul Niguez’s lack of game time at Chelsea

Watford vs Chelsea: Team news

Wednesday 1 December 2021 18:07 , Jamie Braidwood

Mason Mount could return to the Tuchel’s starting line-up tonight after only starting three times for the Blues since the end of September.

The midfielder had been sidelined by dental surgery and although he started in the 3-0 win over Leicester recently, the England international was then benched for the pair of home matches against Juventus and Manchester United last week.

It will be interesting, too, to see whether Andreas Christensen is given a recall. The defender has not played a part in Chelsea’s last three matches, despite being fit, as the uncertainty over his contract situation rumbles on.

We will bring you confirmed line-ups at 6:30pm.

Watford vs Chelsea: Team news

Wednesday 1 December 2021 18:00 , Jamie Braidwood

Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell, Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante remain sidelined with injuries while Thomas Tuchel said late calls will be made on Reece James, Jorginho and Timo Werner.

“We have some players in doubt, maybe we need a bit more time, more examinations,” Tuchel said on Tuesday. “James, Jorginho and Werner, they all trained today with us and there will be some last-minute decisions about the three.”

Romelu Lukaku could “get some minutes”, Tuchel added, as he returns from an ankle injury.

Watford also have several players unavailable, with key winger Ismaila Sarr out for at least a month due to a knee ligament injury.

Goalkeeper Ben Foster, who missed the Leicester game with a groin strain, and defender Nicolas Nkoulou, who sustained a hamstring injury against Manchester United, have also been ruled out until the new year. Emmanuel Dennis is a doubt.

Watford vs Chelsea predicted line-ups: Teams news ahead of Premier League fixture

Watford vs Chelsea

Wednesday 1 December 2021 15:19 , Jamie Braidwood

Good evening and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of Watford vs Chelsea in the Premier League.

With Manchester City and Liverpool also in action tonight, Thomas Tuchel’s side will be looking to stay ahead of their rivals in the title race after being held by Manchester United last time out.

The Blues looked short in front of goal after dropping points for the second Premier League match in a row at Stamford Bridge, but they could be boosted by the returning Romelu Lukaku at Vicarage Road.

Watford thrashed Manchester United 4-1 on their last outing at Vicarage Road but the Hornets were defeated 4-2 by Leicester City on Sunday, as Claudio Ranieri returned to his former club.

The Italian manager faces another of his former sides in Chelsea this evening with his team coming into tonight’s match just one place above the relegation zone. Both teams are dealing with lengthy injury lists as they enter the hectic winter period.

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