Watford vs Chelsea match report: Michy Batshuayi and Diego Costa complete Blues comeback to secure victory

Watford 1 Chelsea 2: Strikers with second-half strikes to maintain Antonio Conte's perfect record

Steve Tongue
Vicarage Road
Saturday 20 August 2016 17:08
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Diego Costa celebrates scoring Chelsea's second winning goal in less than a week
Diego Costa celebrates scoring Chelsea's second winning goal in less than a week

As Chelsea's equalising goal went in ten minutes from the end at Vicarage Road, Antonio Conte, the more volatile of two demonstrative Italian managers on the touchline, raced towards his team, demanding that they return immediately to their own half and go after a winner.

Eight minutes later it materialised, and this time Conte's celebrations were almost as exuberant as against West Ham on Monday night. Once again it was Diego Costa who had prompted them with the decisive goal, racing away onto a pass from Cesc Fabregas, who has lost his place but came on to set up both goals.

It had been necessary to send for attacking reinforcements after falling behind, with Victor Moses and Michy Batshuayi joining the fray as well to contribute to the improvement after Etienne Capoue had put Watford in front.

Etienne Capoue fires the ball past Thibaut Courtois to open the scoring

The home side deserved it at that stage, for Chelsea had been poor. N'Golo Kante from the champions Leicester did his job in front of the back four, Makelele-fashion, restricting Watford to few other chances but until falling behind his side lacked the necessary urgency.

Costa was even involved in the Watford goal, and received a booking because of it. Fouled, he thought – though referee Jon Moss did not – as Watford broke down the right he was then shown a second yellow card of the season for dissent as Capoue thrashed Adlene Guedioura's cross into the top corner of the net.

It was the former Tottenham man's second goal in successive games after failing to score even one in 36 appearances last season.

Michy Batshuayi scores following Heurelho Gomes's parried save

Watford were pushed back thereafter, as Chelsea finally added some penetration to their flicks and feints. They were convinced that Craig Cathcart's hand made illegal contact with the ball following a corner as the pressure built and it took until the 80th minute to find an equalising goal.

Fabregas found Eden Hazard for a low drive that Heurelho Gomes could only push out, giving expensive recruit Batshuayi a tap-in from six yards.

Eight minutes later Walter Mazarri's 3-5-2 formation failed him as two of the back three stood and watched Costa home onto Fabregas's pass, running on to beat Gomes, who could not have been pleased with either goal .

Michy Batshuayi celebrates opening his account for Chelsea by scoring against Watford

There was even time for Batshuayi to shoot against the bar, although a heavier defeat would have been hard on Watford.

The first half had brought a single save at each end, and those in the first few minutes and the last. Thibaut Courtois got down smartly to block a strong drive by left wing-back Jose Holebas and just before the interval Hazard's low free-kick was easily held.

Driving rain and wind added to the spectators' discomfort but they had their money's worth in the end, if not in the manner home supporters had hoped for.

Watford have now won only one home game in eight and will have to be careful how they integrate £40m worth of new recruits, with games against West Ham, Arsenal and Manchester United looming.

Walter Mazzarri was frustrated with defeat but pleased with his players' performance

Mazzarri was pleased with the way they played, but disappointed at what he felt were two errors for the goals. “We complicated our life,” he said. “I think we can hold our heads high. But tonight I'm not going to sleep very well.”

Conte should have no trouble on that score after a second successive win. “A good impact from the subs and I'm pleased, for this shows great spirit,” he said.

“The start (of the season) is important to change the situation compared to last season.”

He is well on the way.

Teams

Watford (3-5-2): Gomes; Cathcart, Prodl, Britos; Amrabat, Guedioura (Vydra, 88), Capoue Doucoure, 84), Behrami, Holebas (Zuniga, 89); Ighalo, Deeney.

Chelsea (4-1-4-1): Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (c), Azpilicueta; Kante; Pedro (Moses, 70), Oscar (Batshuayi, 73), Matic (Fabregas, 77), Hazard; Diego Costa.

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