Chelsea clinched Champions League football for next season after a 3-0 win over Watford
Watford began the game in excellent fashion, putting Chelsea under pressure from the off. They could have easily been up by a couple of goals had it not been for bad finishing and a couple of great stops from the Chelsea goalkeeper. Chelsea were a completely different side in the second half as they dominated the game, and scored three fantastic goals. Let us take a look at a few talking points of the game.
#1 Chelsea’s defence needs serious work
The first half was an absolute nightmare for Chelsea as they endured relentless pressure from Watford. And throughout the match, Chelsea’s defence looked off the pace and made it extremely easy for Watford to bring the ball forward. They lost most of their aerial duels which allowed Watford to have so many chances on goal.
Even though they were much improved in the second half, it looked extremely easy for Watford to take on the Chelsea backline and find space between them. This has been somewhat of an issue for Chelsea throughout the season, and the manager will have to think of ways to refresh the defence.
#2 Injuries pile up concern on Maurizio Sarri
With Callum Hudson-Odoi and Antonio Rudiger already out for the rest of the season, the injury to Kante is likely to raise concerns from Sarri. The French midfielder lasted only 8 minutes of the game before having to be substituted due to a reported hamstring injury.
In the post-match press conference, Sarri states that Kante would be out for the next two games, but hopes to have the midfielder back in case Chelsea make the Europa League finals. Chelsea play the second leg of the Europa League semi-finals at Stamford Bridge next week, before travelling to Leicester on the final day of the Premier League season. Both games are important in defining Chelsea’s season, and the injuries to key players could affect the fitness of the team.
#3 Hazard Sparkles
Despite being quiet for the first half, he looked the most lively among the Chelsea players. He was a constant threat in and around the Watford box giving the defenders a hard time taming him. The second half was much better as the Belgian winger assisted Chelsea’s first two goals of the evening, and almost got one of his own.
He played a massive role in Chelsea turning things around in the second half, and his ability to make things happen for Chelsea will be impossible to replace if he leaves for Real Madrid in the summer.
#4 Watford miss big chances
Watford began the game with purpose and as expected, took the game to Chelsea. Chelsea surprisingly had no answer to Watford’s attacks and struggled to keep up with their intensity. With the number of chances they had, Watford could have easily killed the game off in the first half, but poor finishing mixed with bad luck gave Chelsea a clean sheet.
#5 Watford’s flair dies down
Watford failed to keep up the intensity they possessed during the first half of the game which allowed Chelsea to get back in it, and eventually, win it. The players lacked intent in the second half and did not create as many chances as they did in the first half. Though they got closer to scoring in the second half, Chelsea were able to nullify Watford’s attack to some extent.
They take on Manchester City in the FA Cup finals in a fortnight, and if they wish to stand any chance of winning, Javi Gracia’s side will have to improve on the mistakes that cost them the game today.