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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan at Vicarage Road

Ziyech thunderbolt secures three vital points for misfiring Blues as they beat gutsy Hornets 2-1

By Paul Lagan at Vicarage Road

Watford 1 v Chelsea 2

Hakim Ziyech’s thunderbolt kept Chelsea top of the Premier League as misfiring Blues beat a gutsy Watford 2-1 at Vicarage Road tonight.

The substitute restored the single goal lead after Mason Mount had put the west Londoners ahead after 29 minutes before Emmanuel Dennis levelled just before half-time.

The Hornets remain three points and one place clear of the relegation area, and with more hard-working displays coupled with a clinical finish, could well get out of the relegation scrap they currently are embroiled in.

For Chelsea, this was an anaemic display, that only had the two expertly taken finishes to take comfort from.

They will need to up their game as they head across to east London at the weekend to face fourth-placed West Ham.

Trevoh Chalobah was soon into the action, deselecting away for a corner a goal-bound effort by Joao Pedro after just here minutes.

The home side started off quickly from the blocks, pressing the west Londoners back, looking to unsettle the Blues.

There was a lengthy break in play as referee David Coote sent all the players to the changing room, following a medical emergency in The Graham Taylor Stand.

When the players resumed, Watford had made a substitution, - Danny Rose replacing Adam Masina and the game was restarted at he 12th minute mark.

But it was still Watford making all the play with Chelsea players unable to stamp ant authority on the game.

Saul, anonymous since kick-off, made his first contribution - getting a yellow card for a needless foul.

Incredibly, the Blues almost scored on 19 minutes with their first attack close to the Watford final third. Mason Mount evaded the offside trap, and from a tight angle, smashed a right-footer past Daniel Bachmann, but he ball smashed off his right post, zipped across goal and was cleared.

However, despite all the play, Chelsea broke on 30 minutes on the left. Marcus Alonso passed the ball to in-running Kai Havertz. The German kicked it over to Mount, who took a touch before planting an accurate right-footer past Bachmann to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.

Havertz broke free and slotted home two minutes later, but was adjudged to have been offside.

Watford, kept their composure, and on 36 minutes had an excellent chance when Rose was free, just inside the Chelsea area. He hit a pile driver of a let-footer which, Mendy did well to parry away from goal.

Watford got the goal their play deserved but it came from from a terrible bit of play in infield from Ruben Loftus-Cheek who was easily disposed. The ball was sent wide to Emmanuel Demis on the right. His shot took a slight deflection off the inside of Chalobah’s left leg, enough to fox Mendy and the ball smashed into the Chelsea net to level the score.

Saul failed to reappear after te break. Head coach Thomas Tuchel deciding to replace the Spain midfielder with the Brazil centre-back Thiago Silva.

Chalobah’s took the central midfield berth vacated by Saul.

On a quick Watford break, Mendy was well out of his area but managed to get his body to the ball before Tom Cleverly and Rudiger kicked the ball out of play to safety.

At the same time, on 9 minutes Chalobah hit the deck with wha looked like a hamstring injury and he was replaced by Hakim Ziyech.

Romulu Lukaku entered the fray with 22 minutes left, Cesar Azpilicueta was replaced.

Within four minutes, the Blues retook the lead with a clinical break. Started by Rudiger, he passed the ball out left to Marcos Alonso, who with a deft header knock the ball onto to Mount. The England midfielder arrowed across the Watford penalty area a powerful left-footer and in-running Ziyech thumped home a venomous left-footer of his own which smashed into the top of Bachmann’s net.

Ziyech was unlucky not to nab a second on 83 minutes, but is header was snaffled by Bachmann on his goal line.

Deep into added time Mendy had to tip over his crossbar a thunderous free-kick by Jura Kucka.

Chelsea are away to West Ham on Saturday, while Watford are at home again, this time to Manchester City.

Teams: Chelsea, Mendy, Rudiger, Alonso, Christensen, Pulisic, Loftus-Cheek, Chalobah, Saul, Mount, Azpilicueta, Havertz

Subs: Kepa, Jorginho, Silva, Lukaku, Werner, Barkley, Hudson-Odoi, Ziyech, Sarr

Watford: Bachmann, Troost-Ekong, Louza, King, Cleverley, Pedro, Mina, Cathcart, Sissoko, Femenia, Dennis

Subs: Elliot, Ngakia, Rose, Gosling, Fletcher, Tufan, Kabasele, Hernandez, Kucka


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