Another match, another Chelsea comeback. A debut goal for Michy Batshuayi and a second goal in two games for Diego Costa cancelled out Etienne Capoue’s second half goal, as the Blues earn a vital three points.
Antonio Conte’s proved his tactical acumen once again shown through with a second half change to 4-4-2 providing more thrust in attack, and the manager will be delighted with the spirit and impact of his substitutes.
Despite the late drama, the match wasn’t a thing of beauty in the early stages.
Walter Mazzarri set his side up in his typical 3-4-2-1 formation, and it appeared to give the Blues a bit of trouble early on, limiting the visitors’ chances.
Watford’s intent clearly was to stay close and pressure the Blues and coupled that with a bit of physical play, committing 13 fouls in the first half alone.
In fact, the first real chance of the match came in the 11th minute when Eden Hazard’s cross from the left wing for was nearly diverted past Heurelho Gomes by Jose Holebas.
Holebas, though, created Watford’s best chance of the first half came when Jose Holebas found space down the left and aimed a cross for Odion Ighalo, but the Watford striker could only divert the ball over the bar.
A bit of controversy ensued just before the end of the half. A long pass from Branislav Ivanovic was controlled wonderfully by Hazard, who played a lovely dink towards Diego Costa. Gomes made the initial save, but failed to control the ball, and questions were asked of Jonathan Moss when the ball came off the foot of Adlene Guedioura and back to Gomes.
Guedioura would make a positive impact when his cross from the right side evaded everyone in the penalty area and fell to Capoue on the left side of the penalty area. Capoue controlled well and lashed a left-footed shot high and inside the near post to give the Hornets the lead.
Conte’s response was to ring in the changes, and Victor Moses was introduced in place of the ineffective Pedro, and Batshuayi was brought on for Oscar, prompting a switch to 4-4-2.
Batshuayi’s impact was felt when Hazard’s shot from outside the box was well-saved by Gomes, but Gomes failed to control the rebound and Belgian was quickest to react for his first goal for the club.
Cesc Fabregas was brought on for Matic, and it was his interception and subsequent through ball that found the run of Costa. Costa bore down on goal and slotted his one-on-one chance under Gomes to give the Blues the lead.
Chelsea finished on a high note, and Batshuayi could have capped his match with a second, rattling the crossbar with a left-footed shot two minutes before the final whistle.