English Premier League
Result: Watford 4-1 Chelsea
Date: 05 February 2018
Venue: Vicarage Road
Chelsea suffered an embarrassing defeat for the second straight Premier League game as they lost 4-1 to Watford at Vicarage Road on Monday evening.
After a 3-0 drubbing by Bournemouth, the reigning champions put out a strong line-up for a reaction with new signing Olivier Giroud on the bench and Alvaro Morata unavailable.
Javi Garcia responded with an equally solid eleven, comprising of a front-three by Richarlison, Gerard Delofeu and Troy Deeney.
Inconsistent performances recently has cast a dark spell on the future of Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, and was under increasing pressure to set the record straight against Garcia’s men
The Hornets made the enterprising start after their defeat to Stoke, and asked a few questions of the visitors through Abdoulaye Doucoure and Troy Deeney.
The latter found an open space from a corner after 12 minutes, but connected poorly with the incoming delivery.
After sustaining the earlier pressure, Willian got the Blues first shot at goal which came to naught when he ballooned inches away from the target.
Captain Gary Cahill then put his body line to prevent Richarlison from giving the hosts the lead after 17 minutes.
Following a few off-the-ball incidents inside the opening half and hour, Tiemoue Bakayako was giving his marching orders after a second bookable offence with Conte’s woes compounded.
This forced the embattled Italian to alternate his stall and off came Willian for Cesc Fabregas in the 38th minute.
Another set-back came their way after Delofeu sneaked ahead of Cahill and co only to be thwarted by Thibaut Courtois, allowing Mike Dean to point to the spot.
Deeney took the opportunity to amend his earlier discrepancy for a thumping 12-yard finish five minutes before the break, 1-0.
The second half started off in the same vein as the first, with the home side piling on the pressure in an effort to extent their tally.
While Chelsea looked more comfortable than in the opening sequence, the mid-table side continued their stronghold with shots flying in from Delofeu and Richarlison, who had missed an earlier header.
Giroud finally made his long-awaited debut when he replaced Pedro in the 64th minute, as Garcia responded with the introduction of Roberto Pereyra for Richarlison.
The pressure grew for Conte after Doucoure ran the length of the pitch before fizzling through the defence to draw a stunning save from Courtois after 66 minutes.
Spanish legend Fabregas got involved in their best passage of play 10 minutes before the end, which he failed to finish off.
It didn’t matter though because Eden Hazard drew them level a minute later with a sumptuous curler from the right hand side, 1-1.
Sadly though they were pegged back through Darryl Janmaat who played a quick one-two with Deulofeu for a cool bottom corner finish three minutes later.
The Barcelona-bred finally got on the score sheet with a low drive in the bottom right corner from a counterattack.
Pereyra got in on the act as well with a stunning strike that cannoned off the inside post before rattling the net in added time for a famous victory.