Chelsea successfully ended Manchester United’s brief stay at fourth place in the Premier League points table after registering a dominating 3-0 victory over Watford on Saturday. The victory was a complete turnaround from their dismal performance against West Ham United earlier this week which had ended in a 2-3 defeat for the Blues.
That Frank Lampard’s men were determined to get back to the winning ways was evident from the first whistle. Chelsea outplayed Watford in every department while Olivier Giroud, Willian and Ross Barkley scored at the empty Stamford Bridge.
Lampard brought four changes into the squad with Kurt Zouma, Reece James, Olivier Giroud and Mason Mount starting against Watford. Both Zouma and James produced a disciplined performance as Chelsea defense managed a rare Premier League clean sheet.
Meanwhile, Mount proved to be the most important player in the midfield with his astute runs and inch-perfect passes. Giroud, on the other hand, did not disappoint either and showed why Lampard had given him a contract extension.
After being denied by Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster in his first genuine goal-scoring chance, the 33-year-old converted his second attempt. After Barkley received a meticulous ball outside the box from Mount, he fed it Giroud who was unmarked and directed the ball into the back of the net in the 28th minute.
Watford showed no resilience whatsoever despite trailing and the hosts took little time to capitalise. Christian Pulisic, who has been undoubtedly the best Chelsea player since the resumption of the English top-flight football, showed his class at the twilight of the first half to earn his team a penalty.
Dribbling past a few Watford defenders, Pulisic attempted to cut inside the box when a desperate Etienne Capoue unnecessarily barged into him for the referee to direct towards the 12 yeards spot. Willian did the rest in the 43rd minute.
Nigel Pearson’s men appeared happy to just keep the scoreline 2-0 in the second half as it was the home team again who ran a complete dominance. With a triple change in the form of Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tammy Abraham, Lampard put fresh legs to raise the ante in Chelsea’s attack.
The decision paid dividends as Chelsea went 3-0 up in the second minute of the stoppage time when Pulisic and Cesar Azpilicueta combined to feed Barkley inside the box who then scored his first Premier League goal in 34 matches.
With the win, Lampard’s Londoners regained the fourth spot after Manchester United had claimed it for a brief period with their 5-2 riot over Bournemouth earlier on the day. The west London side have 57 points, while the Red Devils have 55. Leicester City with 58 points are at third.