Premier League Gameweek 9 — Chelsea FC — My Thoughts

Hello and welcome to Premier League gameweek 9. Winless in 3 games, Chelsea invite Watford to Stamford Bridge in what was expected to be a very tough game for the hosts.

Negatives

Our defending was yet again under the radar. The Watford attackers were able to constantly get into dangerous areas causing many “heart in mouth” moments both for the players as well as the fans. With Watford playing balls into Deeney, Luiz was on hand to deal most of the danger in the first half. A smart switch in tactics by Marcos Silva in the second half saw them attack more from the flanks bringing both their full backs more into the game. This started exploiting the gap between the wingback and the center back. Most of their attacks were coming from the right hand side with Alonso not able to cope up with Pereyra and Kiko double teaming against him. Bakayoko was tasked with breaking up play in midfield, he was clueless when he did have the ball on his feet, poor defensive positioning. Even with the ball, some of his passing was off today. He was directly the reason for Watford’s second goal lethargic in controlling the ball and reacting too little too late. He did make up for it a little with his performance in the last 10–15 minutes ending the game with the crucial assist to Batshuayi for the safety cushion goal that made it 4–2.

I have to mention something about Morata. There have been very few negatives about him since his move to Chelsea, but he really has to man up and stop moaning for every contact that happens on him. It’s the Premier League, it is going to be physical. The earlier he accepts this and adapts, the better for him and Chelsea. I am being a little harsh on him considering he just came out of an injury and played the whole game against a tough Roma side on Wednesday, but it’s just my opinion.

Positives

It may have been a chilly, windy day in London, but it was one that made everyone associated with Chelsea breathe a little better. Another thrilling game of football at the Bridge (A little too thrilling for some people’s liking). It was one hell of a goal from the little Spaniard (Pedro), curling a lovely first time shot in off the post to give Chelsea a much needed lead. That really helped settle some nerves. Even though the period after that resulted in us losing the lead and going 2–1 down, the team showed great character. It was actually the team’s performance on the pitch that made Conte react on the touch line — it has usually been the other way round till now.

Image via BBC

Coming on for Morata with 30 minutes to go, we saw something from Batshuayi for the first time. His movement was absolutely spot on, making the right runs, holding up the ball when needed and distributing it to the right players always. I have criticized him in the past for lacking the exact same things. His brilliant movement resulted in Chelsea’s equalizing goal — running across the near post and glancing a perfect header to the far post (Chelsea fans can definitely relate that to John Terry’s goals vs Napoli and Barcelona in the Champions League). Pedro’s cross should also be mentioned here, it was timed and delivered to perfection. With about 15 minutes to go, that goal definitely lifted us.

There was some slick play between Zappacosta and Willian on the right hand side before the latter delivered a beautiful cross into the box. There was Azpilicueta on the far post to nod home the winner and kiss the badge in celebration. What a sight for any Chelsea fan!! Batshuayi capped off a brilliant cameo off the bench with Chelsea’s 4th and his 2nd in stoppage time to kill the game and break Watford hearts. I have to mention Conte for his substitutions — both personnel and the timing of them, he got them spot on today. All his substitutes made a positive impact in the game with 2 goals and 1 assist from the bench.

Verdict:

It was a brilliant game of football leaving all Chelsea fans absolutely buzzing after the game. There were a lot of positives from the game, the main ones being the use of Batshuayi and Willian as impact substitutes. Both of them have struggled this season when they have started. It could be a formula Conte can use in the future considering the impact they were able to make against a very good Watford side. I have to accept that Chelsea were lucky not to go 3–1 down (Richarlison should have done better), but it’s about time we got some good fortune. Keep The Blue Flag Flying High!!!