Despite going 2-1 down in the second half, Antonio Conte’s side managed to pull off a dramatic comeback in the second half with goals from substitute Michy Batshuayi and defender César Azpilicueta, to see the Blues claim a vital three points.
Watford controlled the game in the opening 10 minutes at Stamford Bridge. Summer singing Richarlison made the Chelsea defence sweat with his flair and pace, and the Brazilian’s linkup play with Roberto Pereyra threatened the Premier League champions on multiple occasions.
Despite the visitors dominating, it was Chelsea who took the lead 12 minutes in. A short corner found its way to Pedro on the edge of the penalty box, and the former Barcelona winger curled in from distance an exquisite strike with a first time shot, that cannoned off the inside of the upper 90, and into the back of the net to give the Blues the lead.
Cesc Fabregas should had doubled Chelsea’s lead four minutes later, when some well worked build-up from Álvaro Morata and Eden Hazard saw the Belgian winger slip in the Chelsea midfielder inside the penalty box, however, Fabregas’ chip was scrambled away by Gomes, keeping the score at 1-0.
Chelsea continued to mount pressure on Watford, with Pedro and David Luiz both coming close to making it 2-0 with two separate long range efforts, both of which were well saved by Gomes. But it did not mean that the Hornets had retreated. Tom Cleverley could have pulled the game to 1-1 when his free kick from distance looked goal bound, but Thibaut Courtois was there to parry the strike behind for a corner.
Fabregas again could had made it 2-0 to the Blues, when the former Arsenal captain burst forward and fired a clean hit from distance, but Gomes there again to meet the shot, and the Brazilian goalkeeper parried the shot out for a corner.
A goal out of nothing
Just as Chelsea thought they were going into the break with the lead, Abdoulaye Doucouré smashed in the equalising goal from an opportunity out of nothing.
A long throw in was sent in from the right flank, and as Luiz headed the ball down, the French midfielder ran onto the loose ball, and fired a low, hard strike past the Chelsea keeper, to level the game going into the break.
Watford take the lead
The goal at the break gave the visitors the belief and passion to carry on in the second half, and Watford used this to their advantage. Richarlison should have given the Hornets the lead when the Brazilian found himself at the end of a Troy Deeney cross, but the winger somehow missed the open goal from six yards out, firing the ball wide.
All was forgiven though, as a minute later, Pereyra fired Watford ahead just five minutes into the second half. Richarlison picked out the Argentine playmaker in the penalty area, and the former Juventus midfielder simply had to curl the ball around Courtois, to give Watford the lead.
The tempo of the game had changed completely. Watford were playing as if they were the home side, with the away fans creating a hostile environment for Chelsea that only encouraged the Hornets.
Watford’s flair and possession of the ball did not last for long though. Conte’s second half substitutes were paying off as the skill of Willian and the strength and awareness of Batshuayi caused problems for Silva’s side, and it was the latter that scored the equalising goal.
Pedro burst down the right wing, beating two Watford defenders on his way, and his inch-perfect cross found the head of Batshuayi, who expertly headed the ball past the hopeless Gomes, to level the game for Chelsea.
Late goals for the Blues
The Blues were not done there. With three minutes to go, Azpilicueta headed Chelsea ahead for the second time in the game.
The goal was setup in a similar way to that of Chelsea’s equalising goal, as Willian sprinted down the wing, and whipped in a dangerous ball into the area. The Brazilian’s cross bounced off the head of a Watford defender, slowing the ball down enough for Azpilicueta to run in from the far post, and to slam the ball into the net with a well timed header, to win the game for Chelsea.
Batshuayi added the cherry to the top of the cake, when a defensive mistake from the Watford defenders saw Tiémoué Bakayoko head the ball to the big Belgian striker, who out muscled his marker his the penalty area, and with a delicate finish, lifted the ball over Gomes to seal a 4-2 win for the Premier League champions.