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May 22, 2022 at 4pm UK at Stamford Bridge
2 - 1
Havertz (11'), Barkley (90+1')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Gosling (87')

Preview: Chelsea vs. Watford - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Chelsea vs. Watford - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Premier League clash between Chelsea and Watford, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Chelsea head into their final Premier League fixture against Watford on Sunday afternoon having realistically already secured third position in the standings.

Meanwhile, Watford will guarantee 19th position with all three points at Stamford Bridge, although it will still take a Norwich City win against Tottenham Hotspur to dislodge them from second-bottom.

Match preview

Having failed to record more than two points per game in this season's Premier League, there can be no denying that Chelsea have endured a disappointing top-flight campaign by their own high standards.

Nevertheless, as Thomas Tuchel alluded to earlier this week, the Blues have been competing against two of the best teams that this country has ever seen, and they would have been required to reach 90 points for just the fourth time in their history to rival Manchester City or Liverpool.

Realistically, third spot was as good as it was ever going to be this season, although that will not be used as an excuse for just 12 points coming from their last nine Premier League fixtures.

Chelsea again missed numerous chances on Thursday evening as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Leicester City, Marcos Alonso cancelling out James Maddison's early strike.

The West Londoners have now won just one of their last five league fixtures at Stamford Bridge, that solitary triumph being posted courtesy of a last-gasp winner against West Ham United.

Only a Chelsea defeat, a Spurs win over Norwich and an 18-goal swing will prevent the home side from claiming third spot, although Watford will be hoping that Spurs can get the better of the Canaries at Carrow Road.

With a £2.2m difference between 19th and 20th, the Hornets will want to finish in the former position, and an eight-game winless streak suggests that they may have to be reliant on results elsewhere.

Roy Hodgson, who will be replaced by Rob Edwards after this game, spoke highly of his players after the recent goalless draw against Everton, but they were thrashed 5-1 at home to Leicester in their most recent outing.

Two of their last three away defeats have been at Liverpool and Manchester City, Hodgson perhaps partially relieved that only seven goals were shipped in those fixtures.

With this game representing the 74-year-old's 1231st and likely final game as a manager, he will be hoping that his players can give him the footballing send-off that he deserves.

Chelsea Premier League form:
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • D

Chelsea form (all competitions):
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • D

Watford Premier League form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L

Team News

The likes of Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger and Alonso will all likely start this game ahead of potential summer departures, although it is unclear whether Andreas Christensen will receive the same level of send-off.

Goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, another player who may leave Stamford Bridge, could start between the sticks, while the likes of Malang Sarr and Saul Niguez could be given some minutes.

Youngsters such as Harvey Vale may feature among the replacements, but Tuchel is unlikely to take any risks with Timo Werner's hamstring injury.

Despite the manner of the defeat to Leicester, Hodgson does not have too many alternatives to make widespread changes to his Watford XI due to their injury list.

Goalkeeper Ben Foster will make his final appearance for the club, while Hassane Kamara and William Troost-Ekong could return to the backline.

Highly-rated youngster Kwadwo Baah may finally make his debut for Watford with an outing off the substitutes' bench.

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Sarr; James, Saul, Loftus-Cheek, Alonso; Ziyech, Mount; Havertz

Watford possible starting lineup:
Foster; Ngakia, Kabasele, Troost-Ekong, Kamara; Sissoko, Kayembe, Gosling; Kalu, Pedro, Sema

We say: Chelsea 3-1 Watford

With both teams expected to make many changes to their starting lineup, this contest will really have an end-of-season feel to it. Nevertheless, Chelsea will want to end an exhausting season on a high, and we expect the Blues to come through in a relatively entertaining game.

For additional data used by our team to analyse our suggested result please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data

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