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Chelsea 3-0 Watford: Blues boost Champions League hopes with win over Hornets

Olivier Giroud
Olivier Giroud has scored twice in three starts since the Premier League's resumption in June

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard says his team will have to get used to added pressure during a nervy Premier League run-in after they beat Watford on Saturday.

Manchester United had leapfrogged the Blues - who lost 3-2 at West Ham on Wednesday - into fourth place by thrashing Bournemouth earlier in the day.

However, Lampard's side responded with a comfortable win over the struggling Hornets to reclaim the final automatic qualification spot for next season's Champions League.

Olivier Giroud opened the scoring for the Blues, latching on to Ross Barkley's clever pass and steering a left-foot shot into the bottom-right corner.

While Watford worked hard to contain the hosts, they offered little to suggest they were capable of a first win at Stamford Bridge since 1986.

And they fell further behind before the break, with Etienne Capoue's rash challenge on Christian Pulisic resulting in a Chelsea penalty that Willian converted.

Thereafter it was relatively plain sailing for Lampard's side, who rounded off the scoring when Barkley found the top left corner from Cesar Azpilicueta's cross.

The Blues have now won three of their four games since the top flight resumed in June.

"Pre-West Ham, we could have gone third and we let ourselves down," Lampard told Sky Sports.

"Today, there was a bit of pressure to get back to fourth and we produced - so get used to that pressure, whatever way it looks, because it's going to be tough all the way through."

Nigel Pearson's Watford remain a point above the relegation zone but have played a game more than 18th-placed Aston Villa, who travel to champions Liverpool on Sunday (16:30 BST).

Chelsea regain mojo and top-four place

Manchester United's thumping victory against Bournemouth had seen Chelsea drop out of the top four places for the first time since 26 October.

But this was the perfect response from Lampard's side who were brimming with energy throughout and appeared galvanised by Wednesday's lacklustre defeat at West Ham.

The Blues made four changes to their starting XI and looked considerably more assured defensively while Willian - who scored a penalty in his third consecutive game - Barkley and Pulisic provided the thrust going forward.

England midfielder Barkley was particularly impressive, demanding the ball in tight areas and then restricting his number of touches to get out of trouble and maintain Chelsea's attacking momentum.

Chelsea's opener was the perfect example as he controlled and swivelled away from a defender in one movement and then sliced open the Watford defence with his third touch.

Barkley, who played more attacking passes (47) than any of Chelsea's other front six players, also capped a fine individual performance with his first Premier League goal of the campaign late on.

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'Professional' win pleases Lampard

Watford's worrying lack of goals

After meekly losing to Southampton last Sunday, manager Pearson had called for his side to produce a performance that "better represented" them.

And his players initially responded with a committed and gritty show, albeit one that lacked the quality to suggest they were ever going to trouble their hosts.

There was no lack of application - Pearson's side collectively ran almost 5km more than their higher-placed opponents - it was simply a gulf in class.

But they were also guilty of moments of carelessness in possession, such as when Capoue presented Chelsea with an easy opportunity to double their advantage.

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Chelsea 3-0 Watford: Nigel Pearson urges Hornets to 'embrace' survival fight

"To concede in the first half was painful because we showed the qualities that were missing last week," Pearson told Sky Sports.

"We are having to play our way back into nick. Time is not on our side but we have to be brave enough and want the ball. The second half performance was one we can build on."

Danny Welbeck's introduction after the interval did provide them with some pace and quality in the final third but it was too little too late.

Welbeck wriggled into several promising positions and forced Kepa Arrizabalaga into a superb save late on, but it was one of very few moments that would have excited any Watford supporters watching at home.

And it was a performance indicative of a side, if you discount Jan Bednarek's own goal, that has failed to score in three consecutive defeats and is now anxiously looking over its shoulder at their relegation rivals.

Man of the match - Ross Barkley (Chelsea)

Ross Barkley
Ross Barkley excelled throughout and deservedly scored his first Premier League goal since October 2018

Prolific Chelsea - the stats

  • Chelsea have won four successive Premier League games at Stamford Bridge for the first time since winning seven in a row at home under Antonio Conte between October and December 2017.
  • Watford have lost four consecutive Premier League away games in a row for the first time since the final six on the road in the 2017-18 season under Javi Gracia.
  • Watford haven't won away at Chelsea in any competition since May 1986 (5-1), drawing four and losing nine at Stamford Bridge since then.
  • Chelsea have scored two or more goals in nine of their past 10 Premier League games, only failing to do so in a 2-0 loss to Man Utd at Stamford Bridge in February.
  • Only seven defenders have recorded more Premier League assists than Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta (31), with the Spaniard equalling his record for assists in a single campaign in the competition (6 - also 2017-18).
  • After failing to score with his last 63 shots in the Premier League, Ross Barkley has scored his first goal since netting against Burnley in October 2018.
  • Chelsea midfielder Barkley has been directly involved in eight goals in his last 10 starts in all competitions (three goals, five assists).
  • Olivier Giroud has scored four goals in his last seven Premier League games for Chelsea, more than he had netted in his previous 38 appearances (3).
  • Willian is the first ever Chelsea player to score a penalty in three consecutive Premier League games and the sixth different player to do it in the competition.

What's next?

Chelsea travel to Crystal Palace in their next Premier League outing on Tuesday, 7 July (18:00 BST). Watford host bottom club Norwich on the same date at the same time.

Around the BBC - Sounds
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Line-ups

Chelsea

  • 1Arrizabalaga
  • 24James
  • 4Christensen
  • 15Zouma
  • 28Azpilicueta
  • 8Barkley
  • 7KantéSubstituted forGilmourat 78'minutes
  • 19MountSubstituted forHudson-Odoiat 76'minutes
  • 10WillianSubstituted forLoftus-Cheekat 76'minutes
  • 18GiroudSubstituted forAbrahamat 76'minutes
  • 22Pulisic

Substitutes

  • 2Rüdiger
  • 3Alonso
  • 5Jorginho
  • 9Abraham
  • 11Pedro
  • 12Loftus-Cheek
  • 13Caballero
  • 20Hudson-Odoi
  • 47Gilmour

Watford

  • 26Foster
  • 6MariappaBooked at 49mins
  • 27Kabasele
  • 4Dawson
  • 21FemeníaSubstituted forMasinaat 64'minutes
  • 23SarrSubstituted forPereyraat 83'minutes
  • 14Chalobah
  • 29CapoueBooked at 21minsSubstituted forWelbeckat 58'minutes
  • 16Doucouré
  • 19Hughes
  • 9DeeneySubstituted forCleverleyat 64'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Gomes
  • 8Cleverley
  • 10Welbeck
  • 11Masina
  • 15Cathcart
  • 17João Pedro
  • 18Gray
  • 25Holebas
  • 37Pereyra
Referee:
Kevin Friend

Match Stats

Home TeamChelseaAway TeamWatford
Possession
Home70%
Away30%
Shots
Home21
Away7
Shots on Target
Home9
Away3
Corners
Home5
Away3
Fouls
Home9
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Chelsea 3, Watford 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Chelsea 3, Watford 0.

  3. Post update

    Offside, Watford. Adam Masina tries a through ball, but Danny Welbeck is caught offside.

  4. Goal!

    Goal! Chelsea 3, Watford 0. Ross Barkley (Chelsea) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by César Azpilicueta.

  5. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by César Azpilicueta.

  6. Post update

    Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford).

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea) header from the left side of the six yard box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Reece James with a cross.

  9. Post update

    Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Adrian Mariappa (Watford).

  11. Post update

    VAR Decision: No Penalty Chelsea.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Watford. Roberto Pereyra replaces Ismaila Sarr.

  13. Post update

    Attempt saved. Danny Welbeck (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Nathaniel Chalobah.

  14. Post update

    Attempt saved. Adam Masina (Watford) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Ross Barkley (Chelsea).

  16. Post update

    Will Hughes (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Chelsea. Billy Gilmour replaces N'Golo Kanté because of an injury.

  18. Post update

    Ross Barkley (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Will Hughes (Watford).

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Chelsea. Callum Hudson-Odoi replaces Mason Mount.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Liverpool32282270254586
2Man City32213881334866
3Leicester33177963313258
4Chelsea331761060441657
5Man Utd331510856332355
6Wolves33131374536952
7Arsenal33121384941849
8Sheff Utd32121193332147
9Tottenham32129115144745
10Burnley32136133645-945
11Everton32128124047-744
12Newcastle32119123343-1042
13Crystal Palace33119132840-1242
14Southampton32124164155-1440
15Brighton33812133544-936
16West Ham3286183856-1830
17Watford33610172952-2328
18Aston Villa3276193660-2427
19Bournemouth3376203259-2727
20Norwich3356222561-3621
View full Premier League table

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