It is a good thing that the games come thick and fast because losing to Spurs is the one defeat of all defeats that Chelsea supporters do not want to linger on. With The Blues now clinging to the top of the table after such a shock result, there is now more of a spotlight on a match that looked a formality when the draw was made before Christmas. With a less taxing schedule now ahead, many will feel that Chelsea need to win with style against Sunday’s visitors.
Former Blue Slavisa Jokanovic brings The Hornets to Stamford Bridge in decent form after a fairly sticky start to his managerial tenure at Vicarage Road.
The 4-2 victory at Cardiff last Sunday leaves them in fifth and within the expected positions of Play-Off position contention. In a recent presser, Jokanovic admitted that his time at Chelsea had an influence on the club bringing him in. There has also been a fair bit made of the fact that the Serb was the target of boo boys during the sticky stages of Ranieri’s tenure. Jokanovic has history in the competition as he played every match in Chelsea’s progression to the 2002 final but was not selected for the defeat to Arsenal in Cardiff.
Watford’s scorer of two goals last week, Adlene Guedioura has now finished his loan spell and has returned to Crystal Palace. Saul Deeney is still and has been the main man in terms of goals for a while. His return of nine so far this season reflects that, and he tends to be preferred to Vydra under Jokanovic. Deeney’s impact after coming on at Cardiff should warrant a starting birth on Sunday after grabbing an assist within a minute to make sure of the points. Watford’s current keeper Gomes experienced some torrid times for Spurs. One of which lead to a controversial and key Lampard goal at the Shed End one year and Drogba was the other to claim a fortuitous leveller after a fierce drive that squirmed under the Brazlian’s body during a league clash at the Lane.
Mourinho may use the abject performances of the majority of those involved at White Hart Lane as the reason to bring the likes of Cech, Zouma, Filipe Luis into the defensive department in particular. However, many expected Jose to implement wholesale changes for the dead rubber against Sporting in the Champions League but after losing to Newcastle, he named a surprisingly strong eleven. His reluctance to use either Drogba or Remy on Thursday, even when three goals behind was interesting. In fact, he did not even use all three of his substitutions available to him. For that reason, I would be very surprised if Costa was involved at any stage tomorrow.
These two used to meet in the cup fairly regularly and the last clash saw Chelsea run out 5-0 victors with Danny Sturridge amongst the goals back in 2010. Watford forced a replay in 2004 but have not defeated the blues in any competition since an Allan Smart winner against Vialli’s men in ’99 to claim a 1-0 victory. If a replay is required this time around then that will take place on Tuesday the 13th of January.