Date: 21st October 2017 at 3:38pm
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Chelsea ran out winners 4-2 in a contest that they looked like losing for long periods. Those that were suggesting the players were unhappy with Antonio Conte and not performing for him were to be proved wrong.

Chelsea started the game well and having lost the last two games in the Premier League. Watford who were fourth in league at the start of play were never going to be a pushover. Chelsea took the lead in the game when Pedro, starting his first league game since the win over Stoke City, curled the ball over Heurelho Gomes into the top corner, off the post. It was a superb strike and questioned Conte`s decision not to start him in the previous games against Manchester City and Crystal Palace.

Cesc Fabregas had a chance shortly after to double the lead when a neat ball by Eden Hazard put him through on goal. Rather than shoot he attempted to clip the ball over Gomes, but didn`t get enough on the ball and the keeper saved the effort.

After that though, Chelsea had a tendency to sit back and allow Watford time on the ball. Already full of confidence, the Hornets needed no invitation. Defensively, Chelsea looked a mess for the vast majority of the half which Conte started in his favoured 4-3-4 formation.

It looked as though Chelsea would make it into the break holding a 1-0 lead, but it wasn`t to be. A long throw, right on the stroke of halftime, caused chaos in the Chelsea penalty area. The ball came out to Abdoulaye Doucoure who managed to guide the ball through a throng of players and past Thibaut Courtois.

Chelsea would have been disappointed with the display and the second half was looking like it could be difficult. Watford came out, very much on the front foot and had clear chances to take the lead. Richarlison, in particular, was guilty of missing two clear chances which Watford would live to regret later.

Despite those misses though, the visitors managed to take the lead when Richarlison played the ball across the penalty area to the unmarked Roberto Pereyra who fired over the diving Courtois. Chelsea were still looking unlikely to get anything from the game.

Antonio Conte`s first change of the afternoon was a significant one, Michy Batshuayi replacing the ineffective Alvaro Morata. Not long after Willian replaced Marcos Alonso and almost immediately Chelsea looked more cohesive.

Willian, who has picked up his fair share of criticism this season played a quick free-kick to Pedro, whose cross was brilliantly glanced in by super-sub Michy Batshuayi. To their credit Watford remained on the front foot, and were not looking to sit back, like so many other teams do. Eventually it was to be their undoing. The tide in the game was beginning to turn Chelsea`s way.

The introduction of Willian saw Pedro move back into midfield, the extra man in an area Chelsea were continually overpowered, proved crucial to Antonio Conte`s side. With three minutes of the game remaining, Chelsea left it late against the Hornets, as they did in both games last season. Underfire Willian once again the provider when his cross evaded Batshuayi and came across to Cesar Azpilicueta who managed to get the ball in the goal off his shoulder.

Antonio Conte was in the crowd and the relief echoed around the ground. Finally Chelsea were the answering the critics who believe they are lightweights this season. Those who think the players are not with the manager were to be sorely disappointed. These Chelsea players, although struggling in certain areas, are definitely with their manager.

Man of the match Michy Batshuayi wrapped up the victory when a defensive mix-up saw the ball fall in front of him and he managed to hustle the ball past Gomes. The Batman was very happy to scored and to have answered his critics on an afternoon that restored some of Chelsea`s pride. Those previous defeats can now be put behind them and they can look forward to their upcoming games with a boost in their confidence. Next up Everton in Carabao Cup on Wednesday.


35 Replies to “Chelsea See Off Watford And The Doomsayers”

  • A game we needed to win badly & we did so we all happy, butt lol we were very lucky as they missed many sitters. Our midfield problems still remain. Credit to the Don for correct substitutions Alonso has been flat for a while and hardly rotated subed in games. Morata back to that easy fall guy role he was busy with in the Arsenal game & was rightly replaced well done the coach. Coach also replaced early which he needs to do more often. The team spirit was also back today notable too in Hazard, kicked so many times and some dribbles not working but he kept fighting trying to close ppl down, GREAT SPIRIT CHELSEA!!!!

  • Here is my take on the match. To start, we did not play well by any stretch, but frankly I don?t really care at this point because we needed that 3 points desperately as the negative clouds appeared to already be gathering at a really fast pace. I am soo happy for the 3 points. Now to my take on the match. Watford must have watched Roma because just like Roma, they pressed the middle two (Baka and Cesc) very aggressively, and we could not control the middle of the park with a subpar Baka (who I am sure will eventually come good but still learning) and Cesc ( who everyone knows cannot defend). Morata?s hold-up play as a number 9 today was weak, yes he is improving this aspect, but he still needs to do a lot better, the EPL is very physical

  • One of the most important points for me for this match is Michy.I will admit I have criticized him severely and frankly wanted him replaced in January or in the summer, but today in a different system he looks a different player ? it was obvious the new system was his comfort zone. Like @Latunvic and @Kaku have argued on occasions, It would appear that a two striker system suits him a lot better than our current system and for me despite the fact that our performance today was not great, this might be the turning point for this season. The lesson here is for me is that it looks like when Kante is not available, the back 3 is pretty much useless with our current squad. We do not have another midfielder that can give us the offensive/defensive balance that Kante gives almost effortlessly gives us in that system. Maybe Drinkwater can give us that, but we have not seen him play so it is a difficult call to make.

  • So what do we need to do when we dot not Kante available? ? this is a question that has been begging for answers since after the international break. Conte has tried a couple of things none of which really worked. But just like last season when he changed to a 3-4-3, I think he may have found an answer today. It?s a back 4 in a two striker system, where Michy looks likely to be more suited, with Hazard just behind in a free role. This unpredictability will really help us this season I believe because this system stretches the pitch very wide with 2 wide players (Zappa with his excellent crosses will be important) and will opposing teams different type of questions. After watching the match a second time, its obvious we moved from a 3-4-3 to what looked more like a 4-2-4/4-4-2 hybrid (@ Latunvic please you can re-watch the match to confirm), where Hazard played just behind Michy , with Pedro (right) and Willian (left) out wide. Because Watford were defending, Willian played more of an ?Isco role? ( vacating the left side of the field) and popping in other areas of the field to create overloads. For me, this alternative tactical variation is what we might need to go through this season, when Lord Kante is not availalable or the back 3 is not working for whatever reason. Now we can breath a little easy, and I feel the worst is almost over as Drinwater and Lord Kante returns from injury hopefully before our next EPL match against Bournmouth. Onwards and Upwards?

  • I missed it because it was on at 4:30 am here and i have to work, but thank you agent Matic ha ha . From what i have read and the highlights i have seen …Conte crowdsurfing , Willian had a great game finally and Batsman seems to be the new Kalou , supersub indeed . Can anyone tell me why we are praising Watfords Richarlson ?, seems he may have helped us .

  • @Michael Reid it was a very nervy game, struggled for long periods but Conte turned it with his substitutions. Great confidence boost in the end though. United losing 2-0 with 10 mins left. Surely Matic is not playing.

  • Despite them getting a goal back, Matic has been woeful, so happy for us we needed this win ,hope Everton lose tomorrow so their confidence is down for Wed .

  • I am soo happy we will be off the negative news bandwagon this weekend . Mourinho just lost to Huddersfield. Matic was really awful, just saying LOL

  • Jose deserves this loss after being opportunistic against us with his stupid comments. Watch yourself the Don advised

  • A very thrilling encounter and by all means i will take it no matter how scrappy. However, its not hard to note that once opposition presses us close to our box we struggle to play out from defense and play our game. This is what watford did to unsettle us and we have to find a way around this. Also, its pleasing to note we’ve been scoring lots of goals even in this trying times but sadly we’ve been conceding as much too. Since the second half of last season, as a team, we have struggled to keep clean sheets and we must now see it as a major problem and do our best to fix it. Cahill is downright shaky and not so good with the ball, Luiz is good but erratic (he commit fouls that put us in danger) and Alonso continues to be a liability in defense. In all, it seems we will have to provide good cover for our defense to carry us through.

  • Notable as well was how it appeared the game was too physical for Morata. The performance he ditched out today was the kind he displayed while he was unfit when he joined us. So i will like to put it down to the fact he is just returning from injury and he’s trying to find his form again. His touch is however still intact. Michy though, He seems he was a better fit for the defense we faced. He could take their bruise and bully them as well with his power. He was physically more suitable for watford but even then we must give credit to Conte was such a bold decision. I also noticed people slagging off Baka but we shouldn’t forget conte reported he suffered a slight groin injury against Roma and even still, he didnt appear bad overall.

  • @layorh12, it looked more like a 4-3-3 to me, but I’m not 100% sure. I’ll find time to watch the game again to verify. But whatever formation and system we switched to, I think we need to stick to it for now. We became a different team as soon as we switched to the new system. It felt more like Baka-Cesc and Willian in midfield with Hazard-Mitchy-Pedro upfront…

  • With DD returning from injury and possibly Kante, we will have more bodies and energy to run our midfield as well as provide cover for our defense. Here is to me hoping we are done with badluck to injuries. Sorry for the double posts guys, terrible network.

  • I disagree with some posts claiming Morata is light and can’t cut it in the PL. Happy for Mitchy but he’s nowhere near Morata. There was no single fine pass for him to feed on and he tried many times to start moves but lack adequate support. Couple the fact that he is recovering from injury and the lack defence splitting passes to him and the result is an afternoon to forget.

  • The major lesson learnt from this game like we learnt many times is that don’t play Cesc in a 2-man midfield. I can’t stress this enough…. When Cesc is playing, we have to switch to 3 or 4 in midfield.

  • Football is not rocket science as some managers make it look. Willian coming off the bench made him brilliant again since ages and the same should apply to Fabregas. This lady (pun intended) need to hit the bench like he did last season and change the course of games. Conte first played him in the first few games last season and the performance then was reminiscent to what we are getting now. A stint on the subs bench might still be the solution for Fab bcos he reads the game well and he is still too slow to play high tempo games from the off

  • Very entertaining match. Great effort. Nice subs by conte. Bats is a poacher. Said before. He’s similar to chicarito. He’s not a back to goal target man who’s going to hold up the ball. Midfield will be fine once have all players fit. Not sure how people think we could have another world class player in mid and keep all 5 happy. Just need one youth player to be the 5th. I think ampadu can be that guy. Use him in league and fa cup matches off the bench. Use the other 4 in the league and cl. Do believe we need to go 3 5 2 or 4 3 3 at times to control the mid. I still believe the best back three is rudiger left (his pace and athleticism covers Alonso) or azpilicueta left as he can also cover better than Cahill. With Moses fit he doesn’t need someone as athletic behind him. Rudiger luiz azpilicueta for me when we are fit. Torn on whether keeping Abraham would have been best choice. Clearly best for our hopes this year to keep him…but probably not best for his growth. Next season we can have morata bats and Abraham.

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