Premiership preview: Watford v. Chelsea

I find international breaks unexciting these days. It’s hardly surprising given the state of the English national team. Sven-Goran Eriksson dulled my passion for England; Steve McClaren has killed it altogether.

My apathy meant that I took time out this past fortnight from checking football news every five minutes; it made a refreshing change. The blog suffered because of it – sorry for the lack of updates – but blame McClaren for that.

Of course it was nigh on impossible to completely avoid the on-going joke that is England. I confess to periodically perusing my RSS feeds to see if John Terry had given any indication of his true feelings about McClaren, or if Frank Lampard had been blamed for the current Iranian hostage crisis.

Thankfully we can all now look forward to an uninterrupted six weeks or so of proper football before the England spin machine fires up again – starting with a trip to Vicarage Road to play relegation favourites Watford.

Chelsea assistant manager Steve Clarke confirmed yesterday that Lampard will start despite missing England’s midweek win over Andorra after breaking a bone in his wrist during training.

In contrast Arjen Robben could miss the rest of the season after opting to have surgery on a knee injury. Robben returned injured from international duty with Holland on Thursday after playing two games for his national side.

Robben’s absence is offset by the news that Joe Cole could make an eagerly awaited comeback from a broken foot as early as next week.

Michael Essien and Wayne Bridge remain sidelined with knee injuries.

Chelsea have recorded 4-0 wins in their last two meetings with Watford, an FA Cup third round replay in January 2004, and this season’s reverse fixture when Didier Drogba got a hat-trick, and Andriy Shevchenko added the other.

Watford won their only previous home Premiership fixture against Chelsea in September 1999.