Stole the three points!
Chelsea travelled to Vicarage Road on Wednesday night to play Watford for MW 14 of the Premier League season. The last team to visit Watford was Manchester United which who were beaten 1-4 so there was big positivity going into this game for Watford fans. Watford and Ranieri went with their standard 4-1-4-1 formation but the big news was that Denis has been passed fit to start the game. Mendy started in goal for Chelsea with a back three of Chalobah, Christensen, and Rudiger. The wing backs were Azpilicueta, and Alonso, while the midfield was made up of Loftus-Cheek, and Saul. Up front Mount, Pulisic, and Havertz started for Chelsea. Tuchel was forced into making several changes for this game either due to injuries or rest but there was still plenty of quality on the pitch to put in a top performance. It was going to be an especially big night for Saul who only started his 2nd game.
Without sugar coating the performance Chelsea were awful form the get go. Watford came out fighting and pressed Chelsea down they were more energetic and that showed as they ran down every loose ball and every pass. The passing was sloppy and the ball rarely found a Chelsea player. Watford had two good chances in the early 5-6 minutes which set the pace for the game. The game was then paused at around the 12th minute after a fan suffered a heart attack in the stands. The fan was stabilised and taken to the hospital after which the game restarted. Saul received a yellow in the 16th minute which just highlighted how poor the start had been for him. Chelsea managed to hit the post via Mason Mount in the 16th minute which helped the away crowd. The first goal came in the 30th minute as Alonso brought down a good ball and passed it to Havertz who laid it off for Mount who finished. Watford though continued to set the pace and had some big chances themselves to equalise. The breakthrough finally came for them in the 44th minute after Loftus-Cheek was caught on the ball Dennis then received the ball and slotted past Mendy to set up an interesting 2nd half.
Tuchel clearly ripped into the Chelsea team at half time and Thiago Silva came on for Saul who’s yellow could have caused problems in the 2nd half. Chalobah moved up into the midfield. The first half started at a better tempo for Chelsea but Watford still got chances. Chalobah had to come off due to a hamstring problem and Ziyech came on in his place. Lukaku then came on for Azpi as the game headed into the final 20 minutes. Chelsea gained the lead in the 72nd minute as Mount played a ball into the box and Ziyech put in a brilliant finish. Watford had some final chances but Chelsea held on for a massive 3 points on what was a very tough night for Tuchel.
Chelsea Team Review
Mendy could not keep a clean sheet in this game but did make some quality saves especially in the opening 10 minutes to keep Chelsea in the game. Mendy suffered some blows as well but was able to carry on. Not the usual night for comfort for him but was crucial when called upon.
Out of the defenders that started the game the only one that impressed me once again was Chalobah. Rudiger, Christensen, had slow games and in keeping with the general team theme there was sloppy passing all around. Chalobah had to come off due to a hamstring injury and that will annoy Tuchel as well. Alonso was typical Alonso during the game. Was involved in both goals and did well but apart from that the pace was slow and the passing sloppy and it’s clear we will need to find a new solution at left wing back. Silva came on in the 2nd half and helped calm the situation while Azpilicueta didn’t stand out but didn’t do anything bad either.
The midfield was non existent for the first 45 minutes and it was clear to see it was missing the calm and experience of either Jorginho, Kante, or Kovacic. Loftus-Cheek was sloppy and didn’t seem to know what to do and Saul only touched the ball 8 times as was barely visible. It feels like both players would do better with someone sitting deep and allowing the other to go forward. RLC did improve in the 2nd half as Chalobah came up to play with him and we saw more of the marauding runs forward and better protection of the ball. Mount was man of the match with the goal and assist and was one of the few players that was good from the get go.
Pulisic worked hard but didn’t have any great impact in the game. Havertz had a poor first half but was very good in the 2nd as he linked up well and held the ball up against the Watford defenders. Ziyech did well off the bench and especially improved once he got the winner. With Ziyech his passing will always infuriate if he misses but when he pulls them off it is great. Lukaku also came on late on and got more minutes in his legs.
Like Tuchel said this was a game which he just want’s to sleep and forget about. It was an anomaly and I would say it was our worst performance under him since he joined. It was well below our standards. Some positives will be that Mount, and Ziyech and Havertz got goals or assists and that we did manage to grind out the result for three points.
Chelsea remain top of the table by a point with City and Liverpool also winning their games yesterday. Watford drop down to 17th with the loss and sit 3 points above the relegation zone now. Next up is a trip to the London Stadium as we play another local derby against West Ham. It is going to be a big game and hopefully our players revert back to their Juventus level. COME ON CHELSEA!!!