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Olivier Giroud of Chelsea

Olivier Giroud

Chelsea face a tough test of their top-four credentials with a trip to Vicarage Road on Boxing Day. The Blues were surprisingly defeated by Leicester City at the Bridge on Saturday and sit level on points with Arsenal in the race for the fourth spot.

The Blues have a better goal difference and are above the Gunners, but we need to perform much better on Wednesday.

Watford are a difficult team to face and have been impressive this season. We have another tough away game after this, with Crystal Palace waiting on Sunday.

Maurizio Sarri might have given the hair-dryer treatment to some players after the loss, and this is my predicted line-up for Wednesday.

Predicted Chelsea XI

Formation: 4-3-3

Manager: Maurizio Sarri

Kepa Arrizabalaga (GK)

Arrizabalaga could have done better to keep Jamie Vardy from scoring in the previous game and the youngster has to be careful of the attacking threat from Watford’s forwards.

Cesar Azpilicueta Chelsea

Cesar Azpilicueta (RB)

Davide Zappacosta won’t start unless Cesar is injured and the Spaniard has to be careful in dealing with Watford’s wingers.

David Luiz (CB)

Luiz should remain in the starting XI despite the loss to Leicester and has to be at his best against the Hornets.

Antonio Rudiger (CB)

The German will continue in the back-line and needs to be wary of Troy Deeney’s physicality.

Marcos Alonso (LB)

The Spanish left-back hasn’t been consistent this season but we don’t have a lot of quality options for this position and he should stay in the side.

Jorginho Chelsea

Jorginho (CM)

Jorginho makes the team tick and there is no way Sarri will drop him, irrespective of the previous result.

N’Golo Kante (CM)

Possibly the other undroppable player in Chelsea’s midfield. Kante should start on Wednesday against a physical Watford team.

Ross Barkley (CM)

Mateo Kovacic could be rested with Barkley coming into the fray on Wednesday. The Englishman has looked good in a few games and needs to start more often.

Pedro of Chelsea

Pedro (RW)

The Spanish winger is having an on and off season and needs to put up a great performance on Wednesday.

Olivier Giroud (ST)

It was a surprise seeing Giroud on the bench in the previous game. The Frenchman might not score many goals but he links up well with the wide men.

Read more: Gianfranco Zola reveals this 8-goal Premier League striker is a Chelsea target

Eden Hazard (LW)

Hazard should be shifted wide to accommodate Giroud. The Belgian doesn’t seem to do well as the false 9 and needs to be running down the flank.

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A View From The Bridge

“I just have to stay focused” – Chelsea star responds to the uncertainty surrounding his future

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Jorginho Chelsea

Jorginho dismisses speculation regarding his Chelsea future

Speaking to the club’s official site, Chelsea midfielder Jorginho has brushed aside speculation regarding his future at the club.

The 28-year-old has played just 10 minutes since the restart and has found himself fall down the pecking order.

This has led to speculation that his days at the Bridge are numbered. With Juventus remaining keen on the player, Chelsea could be willing to sell him in the summer.

“I just have to stay focused on when the team needs me.”

Jorginho has opened up on his Chelsea future
Jorginho could return to the lineup

The player, however, remains focussed on his role in the squad and is committed to helping his side finish in the top four. Jorginho admitted that there have been rumours, and that he has so far heard nothing.

“There have been rumors but I haven’t heard anything, I am just focusing on finishing the season well with Chelsea and qualifying for the Champions League.”

Jorginho also came in for praise from manager Frank Lampard. He also showcased his faith in the Italian international’s abilities.

“We saw the impact Jorginho had in calming the team down and making passes. I know he can give us that and he will continue to give us that.”

Lampard has praised Jorginho's abilities
Lampard has praised Jorginho’s abilities

The veteran midfielder came on and calmed a nervy Chelsea side as Crystal Palace pushed for an equalizer. Thankfully, we held on and have since leapfrogged Leicester City to third place.

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The Italian international endured a difficult start to life at Chelsea after being brought in by Maurizio Sarri in the summer of 2018. To his credit, he came back stronger and was a key member of our squad this season.

It’s unclear as to why he has been reduced to a peripheral role since the restart. However, he is remaining professional and is keeping to the task at hand, which is commendable.

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German star places transfer request as Chelsea prepare to meet £89.8m asking price

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Kai Havertz requests move with Chelsea ready to pay his asking price

According to German publication Bild (h/t Metro), Bayern Leverkusen star Kai Havertz has asked to leave the club this season.

This should come as welcome news to Chelsea who are ready to pay the player’s mammoth £89.8million asking price.

The 21-year-old is one of Europe’s hottest prospects. Havertz enjoyed an excellent season, scoring 17 goals and providing 9 assists in 43 games. He also scored in the DFB Pokal final, although it did little to change the final result. (h/t Transfermarkt)

Kai Havertz requests transfer as Chelsea ready mammoth bid
Kai Havertz requests transfer as Chelsea ready mammoth bid

The Blues are keen to add to their additions of Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner. Frank Lampard is keen to build a title-winning team and has identified Havertz as a key target. (h/t Express)

Chelsea are in pole position to do so, with no other team ready to meet the German side’s valuation. Liverpool too were keeping tabs on Havertz before being put off by his asking price.

According to the report, Chelsea are keen to pay the amount in instalments. The Blues will pay £62.9m upfront plus another £26.9m in bonuses. Whether Leverkusen agree to it or not remains to be seen.

Chelsea are willign to sell six players to bring in Kai Havertz
Kai Havertz remains the top priority for Chelsea

The player too is open to a move to Stamford Bridge. Speaking to Sky Germany (h/t Metro), German legend Lothar Matthaus has backed the player to take the next step in his career.

Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voeller has already confirmed that the player could leave if a club pays his asking price. With Chelsea ready to do so, it might well prove to be the case.

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The Blues are currently on the heels of Leicester City as they hope to finish third in the Premier League. A seen against Crustal Palace, we still remain a project under work.

Havertz will be one component as the Blues go about revamping their squad. If he does justice to his potential, he might as well turn into one of the key cogs.

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Lampard makes ‘frank’ admission following Chelsea’s nervy win vs Crystal Palace

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Frank Lampard left frustrated as Chelsea prevail over a determined Crystal Palace

According to the Daily Mail, Chelsea boss Frank Lampard was left frustrated after his side surrendered control in the nerve-wracking win over Crystal Palace.

The Blues twice looked in control and had a two-goal lead only to make it difficult for themselves thereafter.

“At 2-0 we should have carried on and controlled the game better and at 3-2 we had a lot of chances, good chances, to finish it off.”

The Blues currently have a five-point lead over Manchester United in the race for fourth place. However, had Palace equalized in stoppage time, that lead would have been just three points, with United having a game in hand.

Frank Lampard was left angry at Chelsea's loss of control
Frank Lampard was left angry at Chelsea’s loss of control

It was a possibility that was just inches away from coming to life. Palace thought they had equalized, only for the ball to strike the post, much to our relief.

Add to it that Kepa Arrizabalaga was forced into a wonderful fingertip save to deny Scott Dann before Christian Benteke was thwarted by Kurt Zouma’s last-ditch challenge in the 96th minute.

“Kepa made a great save and Kurt made a great tackle. In those last moments it was nerve-wracking for us.”

The Chelsea goalkeeper came under fire for Wilfried Zaha’s opener. He, however, redeemed himself with the late save. He also came in for special praise from his manager.

Tammy Abraham got back to scoring ways
Tammy Abraham got back to scoring ways

“That is what Kepa’s job is and what he is there for.”

Another positive was Tammy Abraham finally finding the net again. The youngster’s goal turned out to be the winner as Benteke scored soon after.

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The Blues looked to be in absolute control when leading 2-0. Zaha’s thunderbolt of a strike completely turned the complexion of the game.

Chelsea have a young squad who are still making their name in the game. But the ability to keep the morale up should be a responsibility that the veterans in the squad must take the mantle for.

We got away with all three points against Palace. There is no reason why our luck should hold every game.

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Italian giants offer two richly talented players in exchange for out-of-favour Chelsea star

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Jorginho

Juventus to offer two players for Chelsea midfielder Jorginho

According to Italian publication Tuttosport (h/t Express), Italian giants Juventus are set to offer Chelsea a choice of two players as they intensify efforts to sign Jorginho.

The midfielder appears to have fallen out of favour with him playing just 10 minutes since the restart. Given that it took injuries to N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic, one wouldn’t be amiss to question his future at the club.

Interest in the 28-year-old is high from former Blues boss Maurizio Sarri. Now in charge of the Turin giants, Sarri is keen to reunite with the player he brought to Chelsea from Napoli.

Juventus are set to offer a cash plus player deal for Jorginho
Juventus target Jorginho has struggled for playtime at Chelsea of late

The duo has a good working relationship, having worked together for a number of years. Jorginho was a key component of the style perpetrated by Sarri.

According to the report, Juventus are currently in talks with Chelsea over a deal and are ready to pay the transfer fee in instalments, in addition to one of Adrien Rabiot or Aaron Ramsey.

Chelsea are sticking to their guns regarding the player’s valuation. They are not willing to let him go for anything lesser than £58m. The inclusion of the aforementioned players could, however, reduce the cash component in the deal.

Rabiot or Ramsey could be included in the deal
Rabiot or Ramsey could be included in the deal

Ramsey is a player with considerable Premier League experience. However, with him set to turn 30 later this year, his longevity can be questioned. Rabiot, on the other hand, is a younger option who could become an important first-team player for years to come.

The Frenchman has endured a frustrating spell in Italy. But he showed his ability with a brilliant solo goal in the 4-2 loss to AC Milan recently.

Juventus had earlier made an offer that included Bosnian midfielder Miralem Pjanic. That was rejected as both the player and Chelsea remained uninterested.

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The Blues are in a better position than our rivals to spend money this summer. Ironically, it is our transfer ban last summer that has enabled us to do so.

Jorginho looks set to be a peripheral p[layer until the end of the season. The team too has not missed him much. It will be wise of us to offload him and bring in players that Lampard would rather use.

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