Chelsea 3-0 Watford: Massive win puts European dream in Blues' hands
(Photo credit: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote)

Chelsea 3-0 Watford: Massive win puts European dream in Blues' hands

Three second-half goals put Chelsea in the driving seat for a Champions League finish with one game left to play.

dylan-walsh
Dylan Walsh

Two goals in two minutes and a third from Gonzalo Higuain 12 minutes from time secured Chelsea an important three points as the Blues mounted their return to Champions League with a lucky result against Watford.

The Hornets dominated most of the match and really should have come away with something, but Javi Gracia’s side were unable to answer back to two quickfire headers from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and David Luiz and Higuain's chip.

The result puts Chelsea firmly in the top-four, just one point behind Tottenham and four points ahead of Arsenal, who are yet to play their game in matchday 37.

The story of the game

Watford almost got off to the perfect start five minutes in when Gerard Deulofeu was able to turn from his man outside the Chelsea penalty box and fire a lethal shot towards goal, but to the Spaniard’s strike flew just wide of Kepa Arrizabalaga’s goal.

Kepa was tested two minutes later from returning Hornets captain Troy Deeney, who forced an unbelievable save from the Chelsea keeper with a goal-bound header denied the Watford skipper from giving the visitors the lead.

Watford continued to hammer the hosts into submission, finding it too easy to get in behind the Chelsea defence and exploit the shaky backline, but the Hornets were unable the deadlock going into the break with the Blues not yet really awake in the first 45.

Chelsea were on the back-foot for the entirety of the first-half and never looked like scoring, which is why it was a surprise when Loftus-Cheek nodded the Blues ahead three minutes after the restart.

The England international was unmarked in the area when the ball came floating into the area, and a simple header from the Chelsea academy product put the Blues in the lead.

The Blues’ fortunes turned for the better again moments later as Luiz doubled the score just two minutes after Loftus-Cheek’s opener.

Again from a corner, the Brazilian leapt high into the air to meet Eden Hazard’s corner, and just like Loftus-Cheek, Luiz thumped the ball past Foster with an emphatic header to make it 2-0 to the Blues.

Watford looked likely to mount a comeback after a good spell of possession in Chelsea’s third, but Higuain more than sealed the three points 75 minutes in to make it 3-0.

Pedro played the on-loan Juventus attacker through on goal and beating the offside trap the Argentine international deftly chipped the ball over Foster to make it thee for the Blues and to seal the win for Chelsea.

The takeaways

Hazard falters in possible final Stamford Bridge league outing

He might have assisted both of Chelsea’s goals from the corner, but it was a rather unforgettable game for Hazard, who was likely making his final appearance at home in the Premier League.

The Belgian winger struggled to make an impact in open-play and was constantly hounded by the Watford defence with relative ease.

Watford show promises of a club heading in the right direction

This was a game where Garcia really should have felt his team could have come away with something, but two goals in the span of 128 seconds killed any belief that the Hornets could yet again seal a big result against a big team.

It was a poor result, but there was a lot in the performance for Watford fans to be excited about. The London side are one of the most promising sides in the Premier League and with the right additions, there is no doubt that the Hornets could be one of the sides to disrupt the top-six in the future.

Chelsea can perform without Kante

Losing a starting player to injury in the opening 10 minutes is painful for any team, especially when that player is N’Golo Kante.

The Frenchman was taken off just nine minutes in due to injury, and although Watford were by far the better team on the day despite the result, Chelsea coped well without their lynchpin midfielder.

VAVEL Logo