Chelsea leapt up to third on the Premier League table as they narrowly edged rock-bottom Watford 2-1 at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
It took Chelsea no time to break the deadlock, as Tammy Abraham pounced on a wondrous pass by Jorginho to score his ninth Premier League goal of the season. It took Chelsea 40 more minutes to double to advantage, as Christian Pulisic tapped the ball in from Abraham’s cut-back.
If not for Ben Foster, who was in sublime touch, Watford could have had an embarrassing scoreline to look forward to, with the veteran goalkeeper denying Abraham, Pulisic and Mason Mount two times each.
Meanwhile, a frantic finish ensued after Gerard Deulofeu converted from the spot after being adjudged to have brought down by Jorginho. But, Chelsea held on to win the game 2-1, a club-record equalling seventh away win on the trot. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Frank Lampard’s men.
Kepa Arrizabalaga: 8/10
For much of the game, Kepa was a spectator as Watford struggled to put create any sort of threat in Chelsea’s defensive third. The only save he made in regulation time was fired straight at him and he could not have done anything to stop Gerard Deulofeu.
But then, with the last seconds of the game ticking away, the Spaniard was alert enough to stop Ben Foster’s headed effort and win his side all three points. An absolutely clutch save to deny his counterpart, who had made precisely those sorts of stops for the rest of the game.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 6/10
Azpilicueta has been on a strong run of form in the last month and a half. But, Saturday’s display was his weakest in this period. Although the Chelsea captain was hardly troubled in the defensive phase of the game, he could not make any sort of impact going forward, with his end product leaving a lot to be desired. Needs to work on his deliveries.
Kurt Zouma: 10/10
A big reason why Kepa was not busy in the Chelsea goal is the performance of the centre-backs, in particular, Zouma. In what was a monstrous display, the Frenchman absorbed every bit of pressure that the Watford attack tried to create, which is evident in the numbers.
Zouma won six out of six aerial duels, completed 5 interceptions, blocked 3 shots and made 5 clearances. Stunning numbers to say the least. After a slow start to the season, Zouma has started to own his place at the heart of the Chelsea defence and will be hard to replace once Lampard has all his central defenders at his disposal.
Fikayo Tomori: 7/10
Like Zouma, Tomori was dominant at the back, although there were a few wobbly moments that plagued an otherwise solid performance. The youngster won 5 duels and made a couple of crunching tackles, but was rather sloppy with the ball at his feet, at times. Still, another strong showing from a player who continues to grow in stature.
Emerson Palmieri: 7/10
Back in the side for the first time since September, Emerson provided a solid presence at the back and was never really tested by Daryl Janmaat. In the final third, the Italian international was not quite at his best, bar a few moments when he presented himself as a decent outlet. Still in need of regaining some sharpness.
Mateo Kovacic: 9/10
After a bit of a lull against Manchester United, Kovacic was back to his domineering best at Watford and completely bossed the midfield on Saturday. Had the most touches on the night (154) and drove forward with purpose. Of the 12 long balls he attempted, Kovacic completed 11 and won 7 duels. Continues to shine in the absence of N’Golo Kante.
Jorginho & Kovacic vs Watford:
✅117 accurate passes
✅90% passing accuracy
✅11 long balls attempts (7 accurate)
✅134 accurate passes
✅95% passing accuracy
✅12 long ball attempts (11 accurate)
— CFC-Blues (@CFCBlues_com) November 2, 2019
A near-perfect display by Jorginho, who is now well and truly a fan favourite. A touch of class created the opening goal, with the Italian international showing incredible vision to slice open the Watford defence and set up Tammy Abraham. Jorginho completed three further through balls and could have had more assists on another day.
Controlled the midfield alongside Kovacic superbly while also being fantastic off the ball, illustrated by the fact that he completed 11 recoveries and made 4 interceptions. The only blip in an otherwise perfect performance was the booking, his fifth of the season, which means Jorginho will miss out next weekend against Crystal Palace. Harshly penalised by VAR for a tackle on Deulofeu.
Subjected to a crunching tackle, Willian felt the after effects all through the game as a result of which he was a bit off pace. The frustrating bit about his performance was that he was somewhat wasteful in possession. But, he still left his mark on the game, finding Abraham in the lead-up to Christian Pulisic’s goal.
Mason Mount: 7/10
A bit of a hit and miss game for Mount. His movement is a stuff of delight, which often leaves the opposition defender confused. But, the young midfielder has the tendency to drift out of the game, which was evident against Watford as well. One of those players left frustrated by the brilliant Ben Foster.
Christian Pulisic: 8/10
After a sub-par outing against Manchester United, Pulisic was back to his best at Watford. Linked up well with Abraham, in what is an indication of a budding partnership. Composed for his finish, another moment that pointed towards a fine understanding with the striker. But, if not for Foster, he might just have added another hat-trick to the one he scored against Burnley last week.
Tammy Abraham: 8.5/10
Abraham had been on a bit of a dry spell heading into the game against Watford. But, he showed a top class striker’s instinct when he leapt on to Jorginho’s defence-splitting pass to net the opener. Looked dangerous all through the game and was another player who was denied a hat-trick. Showed great movement and awareness to find Pulisic for the winner. Up to 10 goals for the term.
Callum Hudson-Odoi: N/A
Lampard left it really late for his first substitution of the game, introducing Hudson-Odoi in the 83rd minute. By that stage of the game, the young winger barely had any time to make an impact, although he did look lively.
Michy Batshuayi: N/A
On for Abraham, Batshuayi was a fresh pair of legs that helped continue Chelsea’s dominance.
Reece James: N/A
James replaced Willian in injury time and helped run the clock down.