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Premier League Preview: Watford vs. Chelsea

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  • Chelsea leads all-time 17W-6D-9L
  • Blues unbeaten in 14 vs. Hornets
  • Watford last beat CFC in Sept. 1999

Could this be Antonio Conte‘s last stand?

At least at Chelsea, if reports are to be believed, as the Blues boss may need a win over Watford at Vicarage Road on Monday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) in order to keep his job as manager of the Premier League champions.

History says it won’t be an issue, with Chelsea enjoying a run of superiority against the club located 25 miles north of Stamford Bridge, though the last two meetings hold goal-heavy stories of 4-3 and 4-2.

The latter was a beaut, with Chelsea opening the match through a Pedro goal but finding itself behind 2-1 with less than 20 minutes to play.

What they’re saying

Watford’s Gerard Deulofeu on joining the Hornets“I knew Neymar, Messi and Suarez were in the team. After Neymar was gone, in comes Dembele and Coutinho. If you want to be in the top teams, you know you have competition in your place. I was playing in Barcelona, I played a lot of games. For the last couple of months I don’t play anything, and I don’t have confidence. That is my solution – to come here for confidence and minutes, and to help Watford. I’m confident in Watford, and confident in myself.”

Chelsea boss Conte on the youth of his side: “As you can see, we are working a lot also with, for example, Ampadu. He’s only 17 years old. Christensen is only 21 years old. Bakayoko is only 23. Zappacosta only 25. We took a lot of young players. With Christensen, we are trying to develop the young players of the Academy. I think we are doing a fantastic job. We are trying to build something important with work – not with words or money.”

Prediction

The Hornets have brought in reinforcements, but will Javi Gracia have them organized and indoctrinated into a very new system? Home field should help some, but Chelsea takes advantage of the Liverpool-Spurs draw to post a 2-0 win.

Breaking: Unai Emery to take manager role at Arsenal

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Arsenal has found its next manager, and it isn’t Mikel Arteta, despite the former player’s strong links to the club.

BBC Sport has reported that former Paris Saint Germain manager Unai Emery will be named the club’s next manager as a successor to legendary coach Arsene Wenger, who recently stepped down from his post.

Emery served two seasons at the helm for PSG, after making a name for himself at Sevilla previously with three consecutive UEFA Europa League titles (2014-2016).

More to follow…

Transfer rumors: Willian, Alderweireld to Manchester United

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The transfer rumor mill is picking up steam this Monday, including some persistent whispers regarding two Premier League players with possible futures at Old Trafford.

Both of these make a lot of sense.

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A day after Nemanja Matic stressed the need for experienced players at United, two good fits hit the rumor mill (again).

Matic’s old Chelsea pal Willian has interest from United if he seeks a way out of London — which seems likely — where he’s said to be ready to go if Antonio Conte remains as manager.

Then there’s Toby Alderweireld, whose been very strong at Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur but reportedly fallen out with current Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino.

During a rut, the Tottenham manager claimed that Alderweireld was held out of Spurs’ lineup due to the form of the players in front of him.

Also from Sky, we’ll leave this quote from PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi on the idea of possibly selling Kylian Mbappe.

Al-Khelaifi told Canal+: “You want me to give you a number? More than €1bn! Yes, I said one billion! And even if you gave me a billion, I wouldn’t sell him.”

Pogba: Mourinho “made me progress in leadership”

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Paul Pogba says “we are never sure of anything but contractually, it’s sure” that he’ll remain at Manchester United.

That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement from United’s most expensive transfer purchase, as many have linked him with a move away from Old Trafford.

[ MORE: No World Cup for Chelsea trio ]

He also said he’s not worried about his relationship with United boss Jose Mourinho, and pointed out that his problems and growth in Manchester are a natural part of a player’s progression. From Sky Sports:

“There were times where I wasn’t playing, I was on the bench. There was a lot of talk, people thought it wasn’t working out,” Pogba added.

“But a coach and a player don’t have to be best friends, we don’t have to go to restaurants together. I had a few little problems too… football is sometimes all about the mental side. He put me on the bench and I gave my response on the pitch. I always give everything I’ve got.

“He made me progress in leadership. I had the armband with Mourinho, it was the first time in a club, it’s important for me, it makes me grow to be also a leader in the France team.”

In a candid talk, the 25-year-old Pogba was asked about Paris Saint-Germain and told French television that he’d be open to representing the club in the future despite the fact that his parents are Marseille supporters.

Moore takes hold of West Brom’s promotion bid

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Darren Moore‘s spell as West Brom caretaker manager couldn’t quite pull off a miraculous run to Premier League safety, but the promise it contained has helped him to the first chance at earning promotion back to the top flight.

West Bromwich Albion announced Moore as its new manager on Monday, with the boss promising his Baggies would play attractive football while also being a side “that’s willing to fight and scrap for every ball.”

[ MORE: No World Cup for Chelsea trio ]

Moore is also happy to carry a flame for minority coaches — called BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) — in England.

“If it does inspire others, I would be extremely proud,” he said. “I don’t just speak on behalf of BAME coaches but the young, aspiring British coaches across the board.”

Moore, 44, only lost one of his six PL matches as WBA boss, winning three times and inspiring many to wonder what would’ve happened had the Baggies’ pulled the plug on Alan Pardew — and Tony Pulis before him — earlier.

A center back in his playing career, Moore spent 18 seasons between a number of clubs including West Brom, Derby County, and Doncaster Rovers. He won promotion as a player twice with West Brom, and again with Derby.