- Terry scores early (video)
- Gifts equalizer to Capoue
- Blues make nine changes to XI
- Batshuayi, Azpilicueta score
- Fabregas gets classy winner
Stefano Okaka’s 74th minute goal looked to give Watford a surprising draw at much-changed Chelsea on Monday at Stamford Bridge.
But Cesc Fabregas found an 88th minute moment of class to give the Premier League champions a record-tying 29th win of the season in a 4-3 win. A win over Sunderland this weekend would set a new PL standard.
John Terry, Cesar Azpilicueta, and Michy Batshuayi posted Chelsea’s goals, as the Premier League champions moved their point total to 90.
Etienne Capoue and Daryl Janmaat also scored for Watford, which trailed 1-0 and 3-1 in the game. Watford remains 16th with 40 points.
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Azpilicueta, N'Golo Kante, and Eden Hazard were the lone regular starters in the XI, with Nathaniel Chalobah, Nathan Ake, and Kenedy handed rare starts in front of second-string keeper Asmir Begovic.
The class of Chelsea’s depth was on display early, with Willian — how is he not a starter? — burning down the right wing.
Willian curled an 11th minute free kick toward Nathan Ake, but Watford backstop Heurelho Gomes collected it.
Michy Batshuayi beat Sebastian Prodl into the box in the 21st minute, but the defender recovered to force a corner that turned into Chelsea’s opener. Terry rose
Watford leveled it within moments, this time victimizing Terry. Capoue nabbed his seventh of the season when Terry’s poor header went into the path of the Watford man, who headed past Asmir Begovic.
Gomes flew to punch a ball away from Hazard on a 29th minute break, calls for a penalty rightfully ignored by referee Lee Mason.
Hazard then came close to cooking the Watford defense when Willian sent a half-field arrow to the Belgian, who cut to the middle and saw his shot deflected just… though a corner was not given.
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Defenders were on show, and Azpilicueta made it 2-1 in the 36th minute drilling a low shot through traffic to beat a diving Gomes.
Batshuayi nabbed a goal after the break from a similar spot on the field as his league-clinching winner from Friday. Kenedy’s shot deflected to Ake, who played square for Batshuayi to tap home. 3-1.
Yet another quickfire reply came from Watford, as Daryl Janmaat dribbled into the 18 and turned Ake the wrong way to pull the Hornets back to within one.
Azpilicueta had a chance to score a second off a Janmaat turnover, but Gomes pushed a low shot wide of the far post.
Okaka took advantage of confusion between Kurt Zouma and Terry to belt a Tom Cleverley pass beyond Begovic to make it 3-3 in the 75th minute. Conte responded by taking off Kenedy for Ola Aina.
The only goal remaining went to Fabregas. Kante won the ball, which wound up on the boot of Willian for a square pass that Fabregas snuck inside the post.
Prodl then saw a second yellow card in stoppage time to send Watford down a man.