Custom Search 1

Stamford Bridge witnesses another treat

ON THE MARK: Abdoulaye Doucoure (right) celebrates his side's first goal

IF THEY get any more games like this, Chelsea could rightly lay claims to exclusivity of a thriller. Having come back to 3-3 and claw a Champions League point against AS Roma in the week, the Blues scored three goals in the last 20 minutes to stun a spirited Hornets who looked on course for a shock win at Stamford Bridge.

Pedro had given his side the lead with a stunner, but in first half time time added on, Abdoulaye Doucoure levelled to silence the home crowd. The Hornets then took a deserved lead through Roberto Pereyra and should have put the game to bed, but in-form striker Richarlison missed a sitter from six yards out, and then failed to direct a header with Thibaut Courtois exposed. The visitors should have been home and hosed at 4-1 up and playing the kind of high tempo energetic football which the Blues failed to live with.

Stuttering in defence and goal shy in attack with Alvaro Morata is clearly still feeling his way in to the regular match day demands of the Premier League. It was Watford who were comfortably leading the way. They had their luck when Cesc Fabregas spurned an excellent chance to give his side a 2-0 lead, deciding to chip Heurelho Gomes, the Brazil keeper getting a hand to the ball as he slumped to the ground.

With a hour gone, the Chelsea fans looked as desperate as their side who couldn't seem to string a succession of passes together. The worried brow of Antonio Conte loomed large and rumours of player discontent with the Italian's training methods would not have helped the Blues.

To audible howls of derision, Conte took off £60 million signing Morata and replaced him with Michy Batshuayi who cost Chelsea £33 million. The powerful Belgian has yet to gain full fan favour at Stamford Bridge, but what was about to follow will no doubt change all that. The switch proved to be the turning point of the match.

Just 11 minutes after coming on, Batshuayi headed in from Pedro's cross to draw Chelsea level at 2-2. More drama when Cesar Azpilicueta gave Chelsea the lead with another header, this time from Willian's cross. Deep in time added on, Batshuayi became a Blues legend when he muscled his way from his marker before clipping the ball past Gomes. It was cruel of Watford and their manager Marco Silva who had all but pulled off a famous win. After he emerged from the clutches of the Chelsea fans, Conte will of course welcome another three points, while also accepting that there is a worrying vulnerability about his current side.

"It (the result) didn't reflect the match and what we saw on the pitch," said Silva "Our team came here and controlled most of the match. I'm proud of how we played, but of course I'm really frustrated. It showed our way and we need to continue in this way." The Watford boss labelled the result as " unfair," while his opposite number chose to gloss over his side's disjointed performance.

"The performance was good, because to concede the equaliser at the end of the first and then go down in first part of the second half, our confidence in that moment was low.

"But my players showed me we have the attitude to fight and change the situation and get a different result. It was very important, " said Conte.

The Voice is celebrating its 35th birthday this year. Share your Voice memories, comments and birthday wishes on social media, using the following hash tag: #Voice35Years

Read every story in our hardcopy newspaper for free by downloading the app.

Facebook Comments