Mason Mount had a goal and an assist as Chelsea rebounded from a blown first-half lead to beat Watford 2-1 at Vicarage Road on Wednesday.
The injury-hit Hornets deserved a point from their performance but Chelsea found all three points while away from home and far from its best when Hakim Ziyech scored with just over a quarter-hour to play.
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Chelsea keeps its first-place standing on the Premier League table with 33 points.
Watford remains just three points clear of the bottom three, with Man City coming to Vicarage Road on Saturday and trips to Brentford and Burnley after that.
WATCH FULL MATCH REPLAY
Watford vs Chelsea final score, stats
Final score: Chelsea 2, Watford 1
Goals scored: Mount (29′), Dennis (43′), Ziyech (72′)
Shots: Watford, 13-8
Shots on target: Watford, 6-4
Three things we learned from Watford vs Chelsea
1. Winning while not at its best is championship stuff: Chelsea wasn’t great on Wednesday, neither clinical nor too inventive. But it truly didn’t feel like Thomas Tuchel’s men were really in danger of losing to the hosts, even if some big chances were missed by the Hornets. If you told Tuchel that he wouldn’t have to start Romelu Lukaku and use Timo Werner without having access to N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic, he probably would’ve taken a win however it arrived in the W column.
2. Losing while matching a championship contender is Championship stuff: Notice the capital C. Watford’s injury concerns complicate an already tricky situation, and the Hornets definitely deserved a point on Wednesday at Vicarage Road. Not coming up with one could be costly, especially considering how few teams will score against Chelsea, let alone get a result against the Blues. This was a missed opportunity. With Newcastle ready to buy, Norwich City firming up defensively, and Burnley being Burnley, is Watford the top candidate to drop into the relegation debate?
3. Pulisic goes 90: Christian Pulisic said earlier this week that he’s feeling “great” after a long layoff with injury and he went 90 minutes on Wednesday to make it three appearances across eight days and six-straight Chelsea matches across all competitions in the latest bit of encouragement for Chelsea and USMNT fans alike.
Pulisic wasn’t at his best but he didn’t stop working during his 41-touch day, recording a key pass, fouling three Hornets and drawing a trio of fouls as well. The USMNT star had three clearances, an interception, and a tackle in the win.
Man of the Match: Mason Mount
Antonio Rudiger was very good but this award is as simple as stating that Mount scored the first goal and set up the second. He’s good.
Watford vs Chelsea recap
Game suspended shortly after kickoff
No sooner had Christian Pulisic won a free kick and Watford’s returning Adam Masina been forced off due to injury that the match was suspended due to a medical emergency in the stands.
It would be resume nearly a half-hour later
Alarm bells signal Chelsea opener, but Watford responds
Chelsea scored through Mount in the 29th minute. The Blues worked the ball well, Rudiger’s entry cutting into the Watford box. Kai Havertz turned the ball from the left to the right, where Mount smashed into the goal from the back post.
Pulisic cued up Havertz for a goal on a Chelsea counterattack, but the American’s delay in releasing the German proved to produce an offside.
The lead wouldn’t last until halftime as a Ruben Loftus-Cheek giveaway led to Emmanuel Dennis’ deflected shot off Rudiger and past Edouard Mendy for 1-1 in the 43rd minute.
It probably should’ve been two goals each, but Moussa Sissoko joined the Pulisic-Havertz flub when he hit an in-tight shot tamely to a prone Mendy.
Inevitable breakthrough was, in fact, inevitable
Ziyech only entered the match with Trevoh Chalobah requiring an exit, but the ex-Ajax star delivered the winner within 10 minutes of entry.
Watford more than held its own but never really felt like they’d grab another goal, Sissoko’s big flub aside.