Chelsea team news: Injuries, suspensions and line-up vs Watford

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The Blues are aiming to turn their back on a disappointing January as they enter the new month with a Monday fixture away to their rivals

Chelsea are on the brink of a crisis. Their 3-0 midweek defeat at home to Bournemouth has seen them drop into the thick of the Champions League battle, having once been relatively comfortable in third. 

The Cherries blew Chelsea away thanks to goals from Callum Wilson, Junior Stanislas and Nathan Ake. 

Meanwhile, Watford are also in poor form having recently sacked their manager Marco Silva and replaced him with Javi Gracia. Now they find themselves on the fringes of the relegation dogfight.


CHELSEA INJURIES


Andreas Christensen is the latest injury worry for Chelsea after he pulled up midway through the first half in midweek with a hamstring problem. 

The young defender has joined Willian, who also has a hamstring problem, Alvaro Morata (back).

The good news is David Luiz has been in full training with the Chelsea first team and he could return to ease the loss of Christensen. 

Thibaut Courtois returned from his ankle problem against Bournemouth, while Cesc Fabregas came off the bench to come back from a hamstring complaint of his own. 

Willian is also likely to be in for a return against Watford but the others remain serious doubts for the match at Vicarage Road. 

New signing Olivier Giroud needs his condition checked.

Michy Batshuayi, Kenedy and Charly Musonda all left the club on loan in the transfer window. Conte spoke about potential injuries ahead of the game on Monday. 

“Alvaro is still out. I hope to be able to solve his situation," Conte said at Cobham Training Centre. "For a problem in his back, he's missing a lot of games, and this is not a good situation for me or the team.

"I hope in the future that the medical department is able to solve this situation. And then Christensen, the first clinical examination was positive, but we have to wait. For sure he's out against Watford, and then I have a couple of other situations for the game against Watford.

"I have to check a couple of situations. Today is Friday. We have two and a half days. Don't forget that maybe Willian will be able (to play). That would give me an opportunity to change in a way I didn't against Bournemouth.”


CHELSEA SUSPENSIONS


Conte currently has no players suspended, with Morata and Pedro having recently completed their respective bans.

Spain striker Morata is, however, two yellow cards away from a two-match ban. 


POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP


Chelsea's newest recruits Giroud and Emerson Palmieri could be in contention to make their debuts on Monday but are likely to do so from the bench. 

Giroud joined Chelsea on transfer deadline day for a fee of £18 million, while Emerson joined the day before from Roma for a fee of £17.5m, with a further £8m in possible add-ons. 

Their arrivals are a welcome boost for Conte, who had been forced into using 17-year-old academy forward Callum Hudson-Odoi in the most recent defeat to Bournemouth. 

Eden Hazard started as a false nine on Wednesday and he could continue in that role. Christensen's injury may mean that Gary Cahill plays in the centre of the defence with Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta alongside him, as the only senior defenders available. 

Courtois will likely remain in goal, while Victor Moses will return after being left out against Bournemouth. 

Chelsea line up


WATFORD TEAM NEWS


Gracia saw Watford have 12 players doubtful ahead of the 0-0 draw away to Stoke City in midweek. Heurelho Gomes, Mollo Wague, Kiko Femenia, Will Hughes, Miguel Britos, Younes Kaboul, Isaac Success, Nathaniel Chalobah, Craig Cathcart and Tommie Hoban all missed out. 

However, Tom Cleverley started after shaking off a knock but Gracia's job on Monday won't be helped with such a huge injury list. 


TV CHANNEL & KICK OFF TIME


The match takes place at 20:00 GMT on Monday and will be shown live in the UK on Sky Sports. 


BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS


  • Watford are winless in 13 matches against Chelsea in all competitions (D3 L10) since a 1-0 win in the
    Premier League in September 1999.

  • Chelsea’s 50-point tally after 25 games this season is 10 fewer than they’d won at this stage last season on their way to the title (60).

  • Watford have won six points from 11 games since the start of December (W1 D3 L7) – the worst points tally of any Premier League side in this period.

    Article continues below
  • Olivier Giroud has started only one Premier League game this season (vs West Ham in December). Seven of his last nine goals in the competition have been as a substitute, including each of the last four in a row.

  • Chelsea have scored a league-high 13 headed goals this season, while since his Premier League debut in August 2012, Olivier Giroud has scored the most headers in the competition (27).

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