Watford vs Chelsea LIVE: Premier League result, final score and reaction tonight
'Nice award because a team effort' - Tuchel on Chelsea winning Club of the Year
Chelsea maintained their lead at the top of the Premier League as Hakim Ziyech came off the bench to secure a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Watford on Wednesday.
Thomas Tuchel’s side were not at their best at Vicarage Road but had enough attacking quality to emerge with three important points and stay ahead of Manchester City and Liverpool.
After a 32-minute suspension while a fan was treated for a medical emergency, Chelsea took the lead when Mason Mount coolly converted after a well-worked move in the 29th minute.
But Watford deservedly levelled before the break through Nigerian Emmanuel Dennis.
Ziyech came on for injured defender Trevoh Chalobah on the hour and struck the winner 12 minutes later with the outstanding Mount turning provider.
Chelsea lead the standings with 33 points from 14 games, with City on 32 and Liverpool on 31.
Claudio Ranieri’s side will take heart from the way they pushed the league leaders but are just one place and three points above the relegation zone.
Tuchel made six changes from the side that drew with Manchester United at the weekend and Chelsea looked disjointed for much of the evening.
Watford were the better team either side of the suspension but fell behind to Chelsea’s first move of quality.
The ball was played to Marcos Alonso down the left and he slipped the ball into Kai Havertz who shifted it across to the unmarked Mount who had time to pick his spot.
Watford responded well and equalised when Moussa Sissoko powered forward and played in Dennis whose shot took a deflection on its way past Edouard Mendy.
The hosts could have been ahead with Mendy making a fine save and Sissoko scuffing a decent opportunity.
The quality on Chelsea’s bench eventually told, however, as Ziyech came on to secure the points.
Mount was played into space down the left and his low cross was met by Ziyech whose powerful first-time shot beat Watford keeper Daniel Bachmann for pace.
Yet again, Chelsea were far from perfect. But at a bitterly cold Vicarage Road, in the face of bold Watford resistance and a struggling sense of self, they emerged battered, bruised, and ultimately victorious by two goals to one on a night that went on for longer than it should have.
Mason Mount had given Chelsea the lead, then provided the winner as Hakim Ziyech bagged his first goal of the Premier League season after Emmanuel Dennis’ had equalised at the end of the first half with his sixth. But those details, indeed the match itself, were almost rendered irrelevant after a fan suffered a cardiac arrest in the stands.
Read the full report from Vithushan Ehantharajah, here:
Jamie Braidwood1 December 2021 22:37
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel says his team “stole” the three points at Vicarage Road and was very critical of his side’s performance when speaking to Amazon Prime.
"That’s not us,” he said. “We were absolutely not ready today for this match. I missed maybe to find the right approach to make my team ready. We had the break due to very sad circumstances – hopefully the person is better. Even this break after the first 11 minutes did not change our approach. We did not cope with the pressure, with the first ball, second ball.
“We had a lot of changes but too many faults. It did not get better. The only thing we could do was hang in there and focus on the easy things. It was a lucky win.
"Havertz was very strong today. I felt he was the one player reaching his level today. We missed some players. We had some players overloaded. We stole three points. We don’t have to talk around it. For the first time it feels like a lucky win."
Jamie Braidwood1 December 2021 22:35
Chelsea stay top of the Premier League but they were pushed to the end by Watford, who remain 17 in the table. There wasn’t much to separate the teams by the end.
But that’s the sort of wins you need to grind out if you want to be champions. They stay a point ahead of Manchester City and two of Liverpool - all three teams won tonight.
Jamie Braidwood1 December 2021 22:06
There was late drama as Femenia’s shot from the edge was deflected out for a corner! Bachmann goes up but Rudiger met the cross with an important header, and there’s the full-time whistle!
It wasn’t pretty from Chelsea but they ground that one out.
Jamie Braidwood1 December 2021 22:02
90+4 mins: Rose’s corner is cleared at the front post by Mount before Loftus-Cheek draws a foul from Ekong as he looked to shield to ball.
Chelsea are almost there.
Jamie Braidwood1 December 2021 22:01
90+3 mins: Kucka rattles a fierce drive straight down the throat of Mendy! The Chelsea goalkeeper palms the ball over the bar for another corner.
Jamie Braidwood1 December 2021 22:00
90+1 mins: Watford work it nicely in the right corner but Chelsea have lots of men back to block the route into the box. Femenia’s cross is cleared for a corner by Alonso but Lukaku rises highest to head clear. It only goes as far as Dennis on the edge of the box and he is caught late by Pulisic to earn Watford a free kick.
Jamie Braidwood1 December 2021 21:59
90 mins: There will be SIX minutes of added time at Vicarage Road, and that draws a late burst of encouragement from the Watford fans.
Jamie Braidwood1 December 2021 21:56
88 mins: Block! Ngakia cuts it back to King in the box and with his back to goal, he lays it off to Kucka. He shoots at goal but it’s blocked out for a corner by Ziyech. Thiago clears the Watford corner.
Jamie Braidwood1 December 2021 21:55
86 mins: Watford have been unable to maintain the high press which disrupted Chelsea in the first half. Can they find a final push? Substitute Jeremy Ngakia tries to cut inside Loftus-Cheek in the box but the Chelsea midfielder steps in to win the tackle and draw the foul.
Jamie Braidwood1 December 2021 21:54