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Not edited.match report...Blues bring about sea change to complexion of EPL match

2017-10-22 06:27
Hard-won: Watford’s Tom Cleverley and Chelsea’s Cesc Fàbregas tusssle for the ball. Picture: Matthew Childs / Action Images via Reuters

Chelsea staged an incredible late comeback to beat high-flying Watford 4-2 in their English Premier League encounter yesterday.

After back-to-back Premier League defeats at the hands of Manchester City and Crystal Palace were followed by a shaky 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge to Roma in the Champions League on Wednesday, the pressure looked to be heating up on manager Antonio Conte.

After winning the Premier League title last season, the Londoners’ indifferent form was reminiscent of the title-winning side that capitulated under José Mourinho before his second acrimonious departure – facing up against one of the season’s surprise packages.

Since Marco Silva’s appointment at The Hornets, the men in gold have looked like a totally different side from the squad that was booed by their own fans for uninspiring football last season under Walter Mazzarri.

Starting the encounter in the top four, one place ahead of the home side and sparked by Tom Cleverley’s mid-week comments, claiming Conte’s side are beatable – Watford produced a wonderful display of football despite falling behind through a wonder goal from Pedro.

A bright start from the visitors was blighted by a poor decision to award Chelsea a corner, and the subsequent set-piece saw the former Barcelona forward pick up a short pass before unleashing a right-footed effort in the top left corner of Heurelho Gomes’ net.

Undeterred by falling behind, one of their standout players this season, Abdoulaye Doucouré, capitalised on the Blues failing to clear their lines after a long throw into the area from José Holebas. Doucouré smashed the ball through a wall of blue shirts and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois into the back of the net.

Buoyed by their goal just before the break, another one of their finds this season in the form of Brazilian winger Richarlison, missed one of the sitters of the season, shooting wide from five yards out with the net gaping.

However, the in-form youngster kept his composure despite the shocking miss to lay off a brilliant pass a minute later for Roberto Pereyra to drill a low shot beyond Courtois.

Conte then exercised his tactical options by bringing on Michy Batshuayi, Willian and later Davide Zappacosta. And all three made the desired impact for the Italian.

First Batshuayi with a 71st minute header from Pedro’s pinpoint cross levelled the tie – then, as the game went from end to end, Chelsea eventually found the lead again three minutes from time as Willian’s cross found Cesar Azpilicueta arrived at the far post to score with another header.

And just before the final whistle, Batshuayi completed his brace by capitalising on a defensive error to hand Chelsea a 4-2 victory. TEAMtalk Media

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