Barkley hits late winner as Chelsea beat Watford 2-1 to finish third in Premier League
By Paul Lagan at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea 2 v Watford 1
Ross Barkley came off the bench to give Chelsea a last day win at the Bridge, nodding home in the last minute as Chelsea beat already relegated Watford 2-1. The scenes of jubilation and excitement were at other clubs where league titles and league status were up for grabs, this was indeed a dull occasion and the fans boredom reflected that.
In fact they were more interested in hoping Manchester City would beat Liverpool to the title as both their games see-sawed to the finish with Man City ultimately coming out victorious.
It was marked by it being the last game for Toni Rudiger. No doubt it will be the last game for several other too.
Player of the season Mason Mount had the first chance of the game, when he latched onto. Long ball by Toni Rudiger. His left footed effort, on goal, but parried out by Daniel Bachmann on five minutes.
This was quickly followed by Hakim Ziyech, but he shot was blocked for a corner by Hassan Kamara.
The first goal when it came was a simple affair.
Saul passed the ball out to the left to Kenedy. He took one touch before zipping in a dish-currier which was met my in-running Kai Havertz, who tucked home the ball pat Bachmann on 11 minutes.
Watford’s’ first chance in goal came on 26 minutes when Ken Sema slashed a left-footer from the edge of the Chelsea penalty area, just wide of Mendy’s left post.
Kiko Fermenia tried his luck on 30 minutes, but his angles shot, on target was tipped around the post by Mendy.
A fine move by Kenedy to Havertz saw the German strike the ball with a first0time effort. The ball zipped
Across Bachmann’s crossbar on the stroke of half-time.
There were no changes at half time, but Mendy spared Chelsea blushes in the first minutes of the restart Joao Pedro cut through the Blues defence and only had Mendy to beat but shot straight at the Senegal stopper, and the ball deflected away for a corner.
Head coach Thomas Tuchel had to replace injured Kenedy with Malang Sarr on 59 minutes.
Azpilicueta almost gave Watford a bizarre equaliser when he passed the ball back to Mendy’s left post. The trouble was Mendy was by his near post, as the ball curled towards the goal-line, Thiago Silva was alert enough and quick enough to hack the ball away to safety.
Ross Barkley replaced Rudiger on 65 minutes - it was the German’s last minute on the Stamford Bridge pitch before his transfer to Real Madrid in the summer.
He made 203 appearances for the Blues scoring 12 goals with seven assists since his signing in 2017.
It took Barkley just two minutes to show what he can do, given the chance, but his long-range curler was tipped over the bar by an acrobatic save by Bachmann.
With two minutes left Watford equalised. substitute Adam Masina’s deep cross was met by the head of fellow sub Ryan Gosling who headed the ball past Mendy.
But seconds later, Barkley was on hand at the far post to nod home the winner after good play by Reece James who set Barkley up with his byline cross.
The win means Chelsea finish the season in third place 19 points behind City.
Teams: Chelsea, Mendy, Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger, James, Kante, Saul, Kenedy, Ziyech, Mount, Havertz
Subs: Kepa, Jorginho, Lukaku, Pulisic, Loftus-Cheek, Chalobah, Barkley, Chilwell, Sarr
Watford: Bachmann, Femenia, Kabasele, Samir, Kamara, Sissoko, Kayembe, Cleverly, Joao Pedro, King, Sema
Subs: Ngakia, Troost-Ekong, Marina, Cathcart, Gosling, Hernandez, Baah, Elliot
Referee: Mike Dean