Chelsea claimed another late win in the new Premier League season on Saturday as they came from behind to beat Watford 2-1. The Hornets took the lead through Etienne Capoue, but some tactical tweaks from Antonio Conte completely swung the game. Goals from Michy Batshuayi and Diego Costa saw the Blues take the three points, giving them a second consecutive win. Expectations are only going to grow if they maintain this start in the coming weeks.
Conte made just one change from the team who took on West Ham on Monday night. They lined up with a 4-1-4-1 formation once again, with Pedro coming in for Willian on the right hand side. The Brazilian didn’t make the bench for the trip to Vicarage Road, while Cesc Fabregas was left to contemplate life as a substitute.
After a cagey first half, the two sides went in level at the break. There wasn’t too much for either set of fans to get excited about until Watford broke the deadlock. The defensive midfielder had scored just once in 57 Premier League appearances before last week. He scored a wonderful volley here after opening the scoring last weekend too.
Diego Costa was booked for dissent again after that goal. Once again he was lucky to stay on the pitch. The forward took an obvious dive after a tackle from Miguel Britos. It should have been his second yellow, but once again he got away with it. That’s something that Conte needs to take a look at.
The manager made three substitutions as he looked to change the game. Victor Moses replaced Pedro in a like for like swap. Then, Batshuayi came on for Oscar, while Fabregas replaced Nemanja Matic. The switch to the 4-2-4 worked, as it got the Blues back into the game just moments later.
Eden Hazard found himself in acres of space having drifted inside from the left. The Belgian lashed a shot from 25 yards, which was palmed out by Heurelho Gomes. Batshuayi was on hand to convert the rebound, scoring his first goal for his new club. With 10 minutes to go, the game was all square.
The sides were level for just seven minutes, when another substitute made a big impact. Fabregas intercepted the ball just outside his own box, before stepping out and playing a fantastic through ball for Costa. The forward had quite a bit of distance to cover, but he tucked the ball past Gomes. That had Conte leaping down the touchline once again.
Conte had every right to celebrate, his changes worked wonders for his team. They went from a poor, slow display to become a dynamic and threatening side. There was much more movement in his 4-2-4, and as such that’s a formation we might see implemented from the start next weekend. However Conte decides to approach the clash with Burnley he can do it knowing that his side have maximum points after two games.
LCN Man of the Match: Batshuayi