• By Paul Lagan

Blues blow away woeful Watford 3-0 with strikes from Giroud, Willian and Barkley at Stamford Bridge


Chelsea 3 Watford 0

Chelsea returned to fourth spot in the Premier League after strikes from Olivier Giroud, Willian and a late Ross Barkley thumper saw off a rather timid Watford 3-0 at Stamford Bridge who remain one point and one place off the relegation places.

The Blues had dropped to fifth following Manchester United’s 5-2 win over AFC Bournemouth earlier in the day. But there was never a hint that this match would end up with any result other than a home victory.

Chelsea dominated the possession early on but failed to create a chance. Watford, understandably opted to sit back in the final third of the pitch and hope fora quick counter attack or set piece.

Willian forced Ben Foster into a save on 16 minutes, the Brazil wide man’s left-footer took a slight deflection and took the pace off the goal-bound effort which Foster dealt with easily.

Foster thwarted Olivier Giroud three minutes later when the goalkeeper got his left left to a low, drive by the France striker.

But the striker got his reward on 29 minutes when he latched onto a deft through pass by Ross Barkley and clipped his left-footer cross Foster and into the back of the net to give the Blues the lead.

It was the hit man’s fourth league goal of the season.

Three minutes before the break, Christian Pulisic raced into the Watford penalty area and was upended by Etienne Capoue - referee Kevin Friend pointed to the spot and Willian smashed home from the penalty spot to double the west Londoners lead.

There were no changes by either side at half-time.

The Blues restarted the game as the started the first half - totally in command of the ball. Efforts by Willian and Kurt Zouma kept Foster active and the score down.

Lampard decided to make three changes, on 76 minutes with the introduction of Tammy Abraham, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek - off went Giroud, Mount and Willian.

Billy Gilmour had to come on three minutes later when N’Golo Kante limped off with what looked like a hamstring injury.

The changes boosted Watford rather than the home side and ex-Blue Nathaniel Chalobah forced Kepa into a low, smart save to his left with 10 minutes left on the clock.

Pulisic thought he had another penalty on 85 minutes when he went to ground after some less that subtle challenges. But VAR decided Friend’s decision to award a goal kick should stand.

Deep into added time at the end, another clever piece of approach play saw them ball fed to Barkley, who took one touch before smashing a fierce left-footer high and wide of Foster to make it 3-0 to the Londoners.

Teams:

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, James, Zouma, Christensen, Azpilicueta, Kante , Barkley, Mount, Willian, Giroud, Pulisic

Subs: Caballero, Rudiger, Alonso, Jorginho, Gilmour, Loftus-Cheek, Hudson-Odoi, Pedro, Abraham

Watford: Foster, Femenia, Mariappa, Kabasele, Dawson, Chalobah, Capoue, Sarr, Doucoure, Hughes, Deeney

Subs: Gomes, Cleverley, Welbeck, Masina, Cathcart, Joao Pedro, Gray, Holebas, Pereyra

Referee: Kevin Friend

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