English Premiership

Troubled Chelsea fight to boost flagging morale

2017-10-20 06:40
Antonio Conte (Getty Images)

London - Chelsea are beset by injury problems and low morale as the troubled champions look to get their Premier League title defence back on track against Watford on Saturday.

Antonio Conte's side have not won in the last three matches in all competitions, unexpectedly losing 2-1 at Crystal Palace last weekend and drawing 3-3 at home to Roma in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Victor Moses, N'Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater are all sidelined by injuries, while David Luiz and Tiemoue Bakayoko are both doubts for Watford's visit to Stamford Bridge.

It could mean Cesc Fabregas is the only fit midfielder available for Conte, and Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta summed up the glum feeling after the Roma game when he said: "The mood at the moment is not the best.

"We had the game in our hands when we were 2-0 up, but we also had it lost when we were 3-2 down.

"It is true we are not in our best moment. We came into the game after two consecutive defeats in the Premier League.

"To come back into the game to get a point is big for the team, to show the character and that we won't give up.

"The reality is we have gone three games without a win and we will try to get back to winning ways on Saturday."

Chelsea captain Gary Cahill admits the squad has been stretched thin by the hectic fixture schedule.

But the defender is staying upbeat, claiming they have a chance to play their way back into form during the busy period.

Cahill, who should start despite having stitches in his head against Roma, said: "It does take a toll. Certainly it is because you are playing every three days and the recovery in between is short.

"Alongside that we are having important injuries and everyone knows we don't have a humongous squad. I don't want to look at them as excuses, they are facts."

Cahill added: "I think we have to look at the amount of games we are playing as a help. You need to work on the training pitch as well, but you need games to put it into practice. I think it is a positive for us.

"We realise at this moment in time we are stuttering a little bit in terms of the performance levels we have shown or are capable of."

Fourth-placed Watford, two points ahead of Chelsea, are likely to play the same team for the trip to west London as they did in their surprise 2-1 victory over Arsenal last week.

But Hornets boss Marco Silva may not turn to Troy Deeney, despite his influential display as a substitute against Arsenal last week.

Deeney scored Watford's penalty equaliser and then criticised Arsenal in a post-match television interview, something that Silva was not happy with.

"Troy Deeney knows my opinion on what he said and I want to finish this situation," Silva said.

"My opinion will stay between me and him. I spoke to him about everything.

"It is important for us and a club for our players to speak about our work and what we do as a team.

"For my players we must look inside and not outside and respect ourselves as well. Has he listened? We will see."

NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights

Fixtures
Friday, 24 November 2017
West Ham United v Leicester City, London Stadium 22:00
Saturday, 25 November 2017
Swansea City v AFC Bournemouth, Liberty Stadium 17:00
Manchester United v Brighton & Hove Albion, Old Trafford 17:00
Crystal Palace v Stoke City, Selhurst Park 17:00
Newcastle United v Watford, St. James' Park 17:00
Tottenham Hotspur v West Bromwich Albion, Wembley Stadium 17:00
Liverpool v Chelsea, Anfield 19:30
Sunday, 26 November 2017
Southampton v Everton, St. Mary's Stadium 15:30
Burnley v Arsenal, Turf Moor 16:00
Huddersfield Town v Manchester City, The John Smith's Stadium 18:00
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2017/18 season?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

The 2017/18 PSL season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.