Chelsea made a miraculous comeback to beat Watford at the Vicarge Road on Saturday. Diego Costa scored the winning goal for the second game running as the Blues edged their opponents by a 2-1 scoreline.
Antonio Conte’s side may have earned all three points, but it was far from a convincing performance. After going down to a 55th minute goal by Etienne Capoue, it seemed that Chelsea might be on the cusp of their first defeat under their new manager.
However, new signing Michy Batshuayi came off the bench to grab an equaliser. It was a typical poacher goal from the Belgian who scored from the rebound of Eden Hazard’s long-ranged effort. Diego Costa then wrote the headlines as he grabbed the winning goal after receiving an exquisite pass from Cesc Fabregas.
Here are the Hard Tackle’s three talking points from the match:
Costa wins the game for Chelsea but should not have been on the pitch
Diego Costa grabbed the winning goal for his side for the second game in a row as Chelsea beat Watford 2-1. However, he was lucky to be on the field as he, quite questionably, was not shown a second yellow card in the second half.
The 27-year-old picked up a caution for showing dissent after Capoue’s goal. Few minutes after the booking, the Spain international was caught diving inside the penalty area. But referee John Moss chose not to show Costa the second yellow and only gave him a warning. Before scoring the winner, he got involved in an altercation with Capoue. Costa completely mistimed his shot, and landed his boot on the midfielder’s leg, resulting in a substitution for the Watford player.
Moments later, the Watford defence was caught napping as Fabregas’s well-timed lobbed pass fell into the stride of Costa, who ran a few metres before slotting it past Heurelho Gomes’ legs to secure the three points for his side. It could have been an entirely different ball game were he given his marching orders earlier.
Conte’s substitutions changed the game
With things not going to plan, Conte decided to go with his preferred two-man attack. He threw in new signing Michy Matshuayi for Oscar in the 73rd minute. His arrival worked wonders immediately as he scored from close range to bring Chelsea back into the mix.
Fabregas and Victor Moses were the other two substitutions and both played a pivotal in role in Chelsea’s victory. For Batshuayi’s goal, Fabregas was the one who set up Hazard for the shot, while the Spaniard played a direct hand in Costa’s winning goal.
Moses, too, looked extremely energetic down Chelsea’s left wing and proved to be a constant threat for the Watford defenders. The Nigerian pretty much justified Conte’s tremendous faith in him.
Watford’s defensive approach proved to be their undoing
The Hornets began the game on the front foot with Troy Deeney and Miguel Britos threatening in the initial stages of the contest. But as the game progressed, Walter Mazzarri’s side moved to a defensive approach as Chelsea prioritized on keeping possession and began to create a number of chances. Sebastian Prodl held his nerve at the heart of the Watford defence and Craig Catchart also put in an impressive showing to deny Chelsea from taking the initiative.
In the second half, Watford grew confident and managed to draw first flood through Capoue’s second goal in as many games. Despite defending the lead resolutely for 25 minutes, Watford finally seemed to lift the foot off the gas as the game drew to its close. Michy Batshuayi proved to be a constant threat as his movement in and around the 18-yard-area saw the Watford defenders fall out of position, which disrupted the balance of the side. They eventually paid the price and got nothing out of a game where they could have won all three points.