Premier League
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Watford 1-2 Chelsea: Thomas Tuchel says Blues 'lucky' to stay top

By Neil JohnstonBBC Sport
Chelsea celebrate scoring against Watford in the Premier League at Vicarage Road
Mason Mount scored Chelsea's first goal and set up the winner

Chelsea were "lucky" to remain at the top of the Premier League after being given a scare in their victory at Watford, said boss Thomas Tuchel.

The under-par Blues needed a goal from substitute Hakim Ziyech to edge out their hosts after Hornets forward Emmanuel Dennis had cancelled out Mason Mount's opener.

With title rivals Manchester City and Liverpool both victorious, Chelsea would have slipped to third had they drawn - but Ziyech ensured they still lead the way.

"We were not ready for this game," said Tuchel.

"We are to blame. We never found the right attitude. We were very lucky to escape with the win."

Watford had twice gone close to taking the lead when England midfielder Mount broke the deadlock with a first-time finish at the end of a lovely move involving Marcos Alonso and Kai Havertz.

The Hornets equalised after Ruben Loftus-Cheek lost possession and Moussa Sissoko set up Dennis, who scored with a shot that deflected off Antonio Rudiger.

But having scored his side's first, Mount then set up the winner by providing the pass for Ziyech to fire past Daniel Bachmann.

Chelsea's fifth straight Premier League away win kept them one point clear at the top.

The game was halted for 32 minutes with the score 0-0 while a fan, who had suffered cardiac arrest in the stands, was stabilised.

Chelsea were 'lucky' to get win at Watford - Tuchel

Chelsea dig deep to stay top

In a bruising contest which featured seven yellow cards, Chelsea were a long way from their best.

But Tuchel's side found a way to secure a hard-fought three points and maintain their advantage at the summit.

Even before the game was stopped in the 12th minute, Watford had twice gone close. But then Mount - who had earlier hit the post - swept the visitors into the lead.

Dennis' fourth goal in five league games arrived shortly before half-time to lift the hosts, and it could have been even better for them.

Tom Cleverley found himself in a one-on-one with Edouard Mendy but slipped at the crucial moment after the Chelsea keeper came rushing out of his box.

It proved a costly miss as Ziyech, sent on after Trevoh Chalobah was injured, condemned Claudio Ranieri's side to a sixth defeat in eight league games.

However, there were positives in defeat for Ranieri who, after last month's win over Manchester United, saw another spirited home performance from his players.

"We must continue this way and sooner or later the points will arrive," said the Watford boss, whose side remain 17th in the table and host second-placed Manchester City on Saturday.

Watford boss Ranieri 'proud' despite Chelsea defeat

Player of the match

HavertzKai Havertz

with an average of 8.16

Watford

  1. Squad number25Player nameDennis
    Average rating

    6.94

  2. Squad number19Player nameSissoko
    Average rating

    6.53

  3. Squad number7Player nameKing
    Average rating

    6.50

  4. Squad number10Player nameJoão Pedro
    Average rating

    6.24

  5. Squad number5Player nameTroost-Ekong
    Average rating

    6.20

  6. Squad number8Player nameCleverley
    Average rating

    6.18

  7. Squad number15Player nameCathcart
    Average rating

    6.13

  8. Squad number6Player nameLouza
    Average rating

    6.11

  9. Squad number21Player nameKiko Femenía
    Average rating

    6.11

  10. Squad number11Player nameMasina
    Average rating

    6.00

  11. Squad number3Player nameRose
    Average rating

    5.85

  12. Squad number26Player nameBachmann
    Average rating

    5.80

  13. Squad number33Player nameKucka
    Average rating

    5.58

  14. Squad number2Player nameNgakia
    Average rating

    5.44

Chelsea

  1. Squad number29Player nameHavertz
    Average rating

    8.16

  2. Squad number22Player nameZiyech
    Average rating

    7.26

  3. Squad number19Player nameMount
    Average rating

    7.07

  4. Squad number16Player nameMendy
    Average rating

    7.05

  5. Squad number6Player nameThiago Silva
    Average rating

    6.69

  6. Squad number4Player nameChristensen
    Average rating

    6.68

  7. Squad number9Player nameLukaku
    Average rating

    6.46

  8. Squad number10Player namePulisic
    Average rating

    6.18

  9. Squad number2Player nameRüdiger
    Average rating

    6.01

  10. Squad number14Player nameChalobah
    Average rating

    5.99

  11. Squad number28Player nameAzpilicueta
    Average rating

    5.98

  12. Squad number12Player nameLoftus-Cheek
    Average rating

    5.92

  13. Squad number3Player nameAlonso
    Average rating

    5.50

  14. Squad number17Player nameSaúl
    Average rating

    4.46

Line-ups

Watford

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 26Bachmann
  • 21Femenía
  • 5Troost-EkongBooked at 45mins
  • 15Cathcart
  • 11MasinaSubstituted forRoseat 12'minutesBooked at 84mins
  • 6LouzaBooked at 45minsSubstituted forKuckaat 73'minutes
  • 25Dennis
  • 8CleverleyBooked at 84minsSubstituted forNgakiaat 85'minutes
  • 19Sissoko
  • 10João Pedro
  • 7King

Substitutes

  • 2Ngakia
  • 3Rose
  • 16Gosling
  • 17Fletcher
  • 18Tufan
  • 27Kabasele
  • 29Hernández
  • 33Kucka
  • 35Elliot

Chelsea

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 16Mendy
  • 14ChalobahSubstituted forZiyechat 60'minutesBooked at 65mins
  • 4Christensen
  • 2Rüdiger
  • 28AzpilicuetaSubstituted forLukakuat 69'minutes
  • 12Loftus-Cheek
  • 17SaúlBooked at 16minsSubstituted forThiago Silvaat 45'minutes
  • 3AlonsoBooked at 45mins
  • 19Mount
  • 10Pulisic
  • 29Havertz

Substitutes

  • 1Arrizabalaga
  • 5Jorginho
  • 6Thiago Silva
  • 9Lukaku
  • 11Werner
  • 18Barkley
  • 20Hudson-Odoi
  • 22Ziyech
  • 31Sarr
Referee:
David Coote
Attendance:
20,388

Match Stats

Home TeamWatfordAway TeamChelsea
Possession
Home50%
Away50%
Shots
Home14
Away8
Shots on Target
Home6
Away4
Corners
Home6
Away0
Fouls
Home18
Away16

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Watford 1, Chelsea 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Watford 1, Chelsea 2.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Watford. Conceded by Marcos Alonso.

  4. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Kiko Femenía (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  5. Post update

    Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Foul by William Troost-Ekong (Watford).

  7. Post update

    Corner, Watford. Conceded by Édouard Mendy.

  8. Post update

    Attempt saved. Juraj Kucka (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Christian Pulisic (Chelsea).

  10. Post update

    Emmanuel Dennis (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  11. Post update

    Corner, Watford. Conceded by Marcos Alonso.

  12. Post update

    Corner, Watford. Conceded by Hakim Ziyech.

  13. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Juraj Kucka (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Joshua King.

  14. Post update

    Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Jeremy Ngakia (Watford).

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Watford. Jeremy Ngakia replaces Tom Cleverley.

  17. Booking

    Danny Rose (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  18. Booking

    Tom Cleverley (Watford) is shown the yellow card.

  19. Post update

    Attempt saved. Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Kai Havertz with a cross.

  20. Post update

    Offside, Watford. Emmanuel Dennis tries a through ball, but Tom Cleverley is caught offside.

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