Chelsea v Watford Review: Costa Back In The Goals

Chelsea defence

The world was out to watch Guus Hiddink’s first Chelsea game in charge against Watford. The Dutchman has been tasked with uplifting the spirit of a demoralised squad while instantly getting positive results out of them. At least spirits were certainly high after a good performance against Sunderland last week.

Chelsea started the game well and dominated a lot of possession (but that’s exactly what the Hornets want you see).

Watford have averaged a (relatively low) 44.6% possession so far this season however they have been very prominent as a defensive side, averaging an outstanding 20.9 tackles per game since their return to the Premier League.

For all the Chelsea dominance, it was Watford who had the first clear chance of the first half. Odion Ighalo getting himself in a terrific position but he could only skew wide. The Nigerian had more time on the ball than he had imagined. That chance brought about a 15 minutes spell of great Watford play and the Hornets looked very dangerous going forward.

Chelsea finally broke the deadlock, and it was our bad boy back on the score sheet. Willian swooped in a corner which was met first time by Gary Cahill (albeit unknowingly), the ball dropped to the path of Costa who connected sweetly with the ball first time. 1-0.

Chelsea kept the pressure up and Ivanovic -who was somewhere near rejuvenated- had a joyful afternoon down the right flank. The Serbian created a good chance in the 39th minute for the Blues when his cross was met by Oscar, who off balance, fired the ball over.

With less than two minutes to the interval, Watford had a rare corner and Nemanja Matic conceded a stupid penalty in the box. What on earth was the Serb thinking raising his two hands in the process of clearing the ball? Troy ‘reliable’ Deeney stepped forth and leveled things for the Hornets. 1-1.

After the interval, Cesc Fabregas, who had a nightmare first half, was replaced by John Obi Mikel.

Cesc Fabregas had 0 shots, 0 key passes, and won 0 aerial duels during a poor first half by the Spaniard.

Watford got their second goal and it was that man, Odion Ighalo. His shot took a wicked deflection off Gary Cahill into the net. 2-1. The Nigerian in the process, became the first Watford player to score in five consecutive top flight matches.

Chelsea surged forward in search of an equaliser and were rewarded in the 65th minute. Willian with a defence-splitting pass to Diego Costa who rolled back the good days with a confident finish. 2-2.

Eden Hazard, on the bench for the start of the match came in for Pedro in the 75th minute. Three minutes later, the Belgian was winning a penalty for the Blues. Costa was itching to take it, Oscar did not oblige, the Brazilian stepped forth…and missed! 2-2. It was end to end in the closing five minutes for both sides but none was able to grab the winner.

A draw wasn’t what we wanted but it was a still better performance than we’ve become accustomed to of late. Up next, Man United. Are you ready?