Chelsea 4-2 Watford

By Andy Lewers, Tales from the Vicarage Reporter.

Despite a spirited comeback from a goal down, Watford were unable to finish off the champions and paid the price in an entertaining meeting at The Bridge.




Watford started brightly infront of a nervous Stamford Bridge. Given Chelsea had lost their last two league games on the bounce and amid talk of unrest behind the scenes, this was the perfect time to play the champions.

Despite Watford's dominance in the early stages, Chelsea took a controversial lead after 12 minutes.

As the Blues attacked down the right the ball rebounded off Hazard's legs and went out for a goal kick, or at least it should have done. The linesman hesitated and decided instead to award a corner. As a result the ball was laid off to Pedro outside the box who curled in a spectacular effort. A good goal indeed, but one that should never have stood and Watford had it all to do.

With Watford now on the ropes Chelsea's confidence had returned and Fabregas should have buried a chance four minutes later, but his delicate chip was saved by Gomes.

Despite all of Chelsea's possession they were limited to shots from range, though Gomes had to be on hand to save a couple of them. Nevertheless, Watford were still in the game and still creating chances.

With half time approaching Watford got what they deserved. A melee in the box led to the ball falling to Doucoure who hammered it into the net from 10 yards to even the scoreline at the break.



There was an early scare at the start of the second half, as Mariappa turned the ball over his own bar from a few yards out with Morata lurking behind him.

It was the visitors however who took the game by the scruff of the neck and the 'Orns should have gone 2-1 up, after a superb ball was driven into the box by Femenia, but Richarlison somehow missed a tap in from six yards.

It didn't matter though, as just a minute later Watford did take the lead. Watford won the ball back in midfield and broke with venom. With Pereyra in acres of space in the box, Richarlison was able to find him and the former Juventus man confidently drilled it past Courtois.

Watford were a team possessed and Chelsea didn't know how to handle us. Five minutes later it should have been game, set and match. A cross from Britos was met by the head of Richarlison. Unchallenged and five yards out, the net should have been bulging and we should have been celebrating, but it wasn't to be as the ball sailed wide.

Watford had Chelsea in the palm of their hands, but it was the use of substitutions that was to change this game.

Batshuayi was brought on for Morata after an hour and ten minutes later the sub headed Chelsea level. An excellent cross was met by an equally excellent header and Watford were left ruing their missed chances.

Kabasele had a free header shortly after, but his effort was weak and Courtois was able to save comfortably.

With ten minutes remaining, Silva elected to take Deeney off and send on Ben Watson. A substitution which indicated he was happy with a point and we were looking to hold onto it.

Alas, this didn't work. The introduction of Watson meant Watford sat back and defended deep in their own half. Chelsea piled on the pressure and capitalised in the 87th minute. A Pedro cross made its way to Azpilicueta who headed in at the back post.

With Watford being the kings of late drama this season however the game certainly wasn't over, but with no Deeney to hold the ball up Chelsea were able to win possession back easily and advance up the pitch.

With seconds remaining the points were sealed. A mistake at the back let Batshuayi in to score his second of the game and round off a 'what if' day for the 'Orns.


To say I'm gutted would be an understatement.

We went toe to toe with the champions of the league, took the game to them at their place and played them off the pitch at times.

The substitution of Watson extinguished any sort of attacking threat and we were made to pay the price. We won't have a better chance to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and so the wait goes on for another year at least.

I suppose I should take my disheartened feeling and look at it this way. We've lost just two games this season, one of those was against the current league leaders, the other was against the champions away from home in a game we should really have won.

I'm starting to believe this run of good form isn't a fluke. We can achieve big things this season, we've just got to keep believing.

Next week... We go again.

You 'Orns.