Like in their previous encounter where they came out 2-1 victors, Chelsea’s upcoming Premier League clash versus Watford is likely to be another tight affair.
The Blues and the Hornets have quality players all over the pitch, with their midfields standing out in particular.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek has really come into prominence in recent weeks, while Abdoulaye Doucoure has been a real presence in the middle of the park for his side since arriving from Rennes.
With that in mind, as they prepare to do battle against each other on Sunday, how do the two midfielders compare?
It has taken some time, but Loftus-Cheek looks to have finally broken into Chelsea’s starting XI — and the 23-year-old has not disappointed since getting there.
On top of the physicality he has brought to the team, Loftus-Cheek has also provided Sarri’s side with another goal threat.
The England international’s runs into the box are causing the Blues’ opponents a lot of problems, while his combination play with Eden Hazard and Callum Hudson-Odoi in attack has been exquisite at times.
That and his ability to drive with the ball has been massive for Chelsea in their last few fixtures.
Considering that, one can only wonder why Sarri has left it so late in the season to give the Chelsea academy graduate a proper chance in the first team.
TT Grade: B
While Loftus-Cheek is only starting to become an important player for Chelsea now, Doucoure has been a key figure in Watford’s engine room since coming into the fray at Vicarage Road.
One of the best box-to-box midfielders the Premier League has to offer, the 26-year-old brings so much to Javi Gracia’s side.
To go with all the less glamorous tasks he carries out in his own half, Doucoure is also capable of getting things done when it comes to attacking the opponent’s goal.
He has the intelligence to time his runs into the box to perfection and the technical skill to convert the chances that follow.
The Frenchman only signed a contract extension last August, but it would not be a surprise to see some big clubs target him in the summer.
TT Grade: B+
Loftus-Cheek can go to the very top. At 23, he still has so much time to improve.
Compared to Doucoure, physically and technically, he is just as good.
Next season, if he can retain a regular spot in Chelsea’s starting XI, then he could go on to become an even more influential midfielder than the Watford man.
Until then, though, Doucoure remains the superior player out of the two.
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