Chelsea beat Watford to make it five league wins in a row
Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic both on target as Chelsea’s good form continues
Chelsea’s US midfielder Christian Pulisic celebrates scoring his team’s second goal at Vicarage Road. Photograph: Getty Images
Watford 1 Chelsea 2
Chelsea racked up a fifth successive Premier League victory with a 2-1 success at Watford, whose winless start to the season has entered club-record territory.
Abraham bagged his 10th of the season in all competitions in just the fifth minute and Pulisic’s fourth in two league games after the break sealed the win that sends Chelsea back into third place.
For Watford, it was the familiar taste of defeat and the 11 games they have gone without a win so far is the worst start to a league campaign in their history.
Gerard Deulofeu’s penalty, awarded by VAR after a lengthy checking process, set up a grandstand finish, but in truth had it not been for Ben Foster’s heroics in goal, the Hornets could have been looking at a defeat similar to the 8-0 mauling they suffered at Manchester City earlier in the campaign.
It is going to take some turnaround for them to be able to get out of this mess and their fans let recently-appointed boss Quique Sanchez Flores know exactly how they felt in the second half with chants of ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’ after they disagreed with a substitution.
They will have come into this match hoping that it was finally going to be the start of the resurrection, but that was extinguished within five minutes.
Chelsea went ahead as Abraham ended a four-game mini-drought, but it was the superb vision of Jorginho that made it.
The Italian produced a fine defence-splitting pass which found the England striker in acres of space and Abraham finished in the manner we have become accustomed to.
It could have easily been all over by the midway point of the first half had it not been for Foster’s superb goalkeeping.
First he stayed big to deny Abraham when a blocked Mason Mount fell kindly to the Chelsea man and then he showed his athleticism to superbly claw away Pulisic’s header from the resulting corner.
To Watford’s credit they began to test Chelsea as their pressing and work-rate forced their opponents back, but they only had one chance to show for it as Deulofeu drove a shot through a sea of bodies which flew just wide.
In the end, the Hornets were reliant on Foster to make another wonderful save as he tipped Mount’s fierce shot on to the crossbar.
The 36-year-old was again called into action after the restart to keep out Mount’s vicious volley, which he did in style, but there was nothing he could do to stop Chelsea doubling their lead in the 55th minute.
They attacked in numbers, Willian fed Abraham and his centre across the face of goal was perfect for Pulisic to convert from close range.
The chances kept coming from Lampard’s side as they sniffed blood, but Foster denied Pulisic and Mount and those saves proved important.
Watford made a game of it in the final 10 minutes after VAR awarded them a penalty.
Referee Anthony Taylor had originally ruled that Jorginho had not fouled Deulofeu, but his decision was overruled after officials in Stockley Park checked replays.
The Catalan attacker fired home the spot-kick for his first of the season, and the hosts were only denied a point at the death by Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, who brilliantly kept out Foster’s diving header with the last action.