London - Michy
Batshuayi stepped off the bench to inspire Chelsea's fightback as
Antonio Conte's side eased the pressure on their manager with a
hard-fought 4-2 victory over Watford on Saturday.
Conte's position has come under scrutiny after back-to-back Premier
League defeats and claims of player unrest over his training methods.
The Italian appeared set for another difficult afternoon when
Watford's Abdoulaye Doucoure and Roberto Pereyra overturned Pedro's
glorious opening goal for the hosts.
But Batshuayi, on for Alvaro Morata, kick-started the comeback in the
71st minute before completing the win with a second in the fifth minute
of added time after Cesar Azpilicueta had restored Chelsea's lead.
A difficult week would have got a lot worse for Conte had Chelsea
suffered a third successive league defeat for the first time since the
final months of Jose Mourinho's second spell in charge two years ago.
Pedro's 12th-minute effort provided the perfect start for the
champions, although Watford were convinced the opportunity should never
Referee Jon Moss awarded a corner after the ball appeared to go out off the foot of Eden Hazard.
Hazard collected a short corner from Cesc Fabregas and pulled the
ball back into the path of Pedro, who whipped in a curling, right-foot
shot that clanged into the net off Heurelho Gomes's right-hand post.
Chelsea should have doubled their lead in the 17th minute when
Morata's cross sent Fabregas clear with only Gomes to beat, but he
managed only to chip the ball into the keeper's arms.
Watford were fortunate to escape, but having survived, they began to gain a foothold in the game.
Confirmation Conte's side
had lost their grip came in the second minute of first-half injury time
when Doucoure fired home with a first-time shot after David Luiz failed
to clear Jose Holebas's long throw.
The equaliser shifted the mood inside the stadium and there were
sounds of dissent from the home supporters as the two teams left the
The opening moments of the second half suggested worse was to come,
with Richarlison somehow managing to steer Kiko Femenia's excellent low
cross wide from just six yards out.
Fortunately for the highly rated Brazilian, he atoned quickly by teeing up Pereyra for a goal that put Marco Silva's men ahead.
Tiemoue Bakayoko had been a doubt before the game and the Chelsea
midfielder, poor throughout, was slow to react when he was dispossessed
by Pereyra in the middle of the pitch.
The Watford midfielder pressed forward and when the ball found its
way to Richarlison wide on the left via Troy Deeney, the Brazilian
picked out the unmarked Pereyra, who finished impressively from 12
Had Richarlison not missed a second clear chance - this time a free
header from five yards out - the game might have been over.
Desperate to inject fresh energy into his side, Conte introduced
Batshuayi for Morata and the decision was rewarded when the Belgium
striker headed home from Pedro's 71st-minute cross.
The match could have gone either way, with Watford's Christian Kasabele guilty of missing two free headers.
But it was Azpilicueta who delivered the telling blow, heading home
Willian's cross in the 87th minute to ease the pressure around Stamford
Bridge, before Batshuayi wrapped things up.