Chelsea Swat Hornets To Return To Winning Ways  (Sky Sports)

Chelsea 3 Watford 0

WillianChelsea brushed off their midweek setback to return to winning ways with a routine 3-0 victory over Watford at Stamford Bridge.

Frank Lampard had called for a response from his players following his side's 3-2 defeat to West Ham, and after Manchester United temporarily moved above them into the top four with a comprehensive victory over Bournemouth on Saturday, Chelsea had to win.

Olivier Giroud was one of four changes to the side by Lampard, and he marked his return to the side with the opener, finding the bottom corner with a left-foot shot (28) to break the deadlock. The Blues doubled their lead two minutes before the break as Willian converted from the spot following a foul by Etienne Capoue on Christian Pulisic.

At times, Chelsea controlled the second period like a training game, but Ross Barkley added extra gloss to the scoreline as he met Cesar Azpilicueta's cross to slam home a smart finish at the near post (90+2).

The result means Chelsea leapfrog United by two points back into fourth spot while Watford remain precariously placed, one place and a solitary point above the relegation zone ahead of 18th-placed Aston Villa, who visit Liverpool on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.

How Chelsea got back on track

The Blues almost seized upon the game's first gilt-edged chance after 19 minutes, with Watford regimented but struggling for creativity, as Giroud was found by Christian Pulisic inside the area but his low shot was saved by the feet of Ben Foster.

But the Frenchman handed the hosts a 1-0 lead with his fourth Premier League goal of the season in the 28th minute, angling home after a smart ball from Ross Barkley.

Team news

Frank Lampard made four changes as Kurt Zouma, Reece James and Olivier Giroud came in for Antonio Rudiger, Marcos Alonso and Tammy Abraham, while Mason Mount started with Mateo Kovacic injured.

Christian Kabasele, Adrian Mariappa and Nathaniel Chalobah all started forWatford, while Andre Gray returned to the bench.

Watford haven't won away at Chelsea in any competition since May 1986, and they were facing down the barrel of another defeat two minutes before half-time when Pulisic was taken down in the box by Etienne Capoue.

Willian was allowed to bury another spot-kick, just as he had in Wednesday's loss, meaning the Brazilian has now scored more goals (9) and had more goal involvements (14 - 9 goals, 5 assists) in the Premier League this season than any other campaign in the competition.

"Capoue decided to make a really bad, really rash decision, and he's cost his team," Jamie Redknapp told Sky Sports at the interval.

Despite the need for urgency from the Hornets, Chelsea emerged the far more proactive side following the restart, with Lampard determined to avoid a repeat of the disappointment at the London Stadium in midweek.

His side almost went further in front as Giroud was found in space on the hour-mark by the lively Willian but this time his low shot was smothered from close range by the overworked Foster.

"It's attack against defence, this. It's so simple for Chelsea," Alan Smith said on co-commentary - and Foster had to be on his toes as he sprawled across goal to keep out another Willian shot from Ross Barkley's lay-off.

Pearson's side had offered a non-existent threat, but Kepa Arrizabalaga had to be alert to a speculative shot from distance from substitute Adam Masina before Craig Dawson headed over Will Hughes' free-kick with 15 minutes remaining.

The Hornets flickered into life as the returning Nathaniel Chalobah stole the ball off Billy Gilmour to release Danny Welbeck, but the striker's shot was tame and easily saved by Kepa to preserve a rare Chelsea clean sheet.

Welbeck certainly added to Watford's attack since his introduction, and he so nearly provided his side with a late consolation and a potential nervy finish for the hosts as Ruben Loftus-Cheek produced a last-ditch tackle to prevent Hughes from tapping home his cut-back.

But Chelsea had the final word as Barkley scored his first Premier League in 20 months in the second minute of stoppage time, blasting home Azpilicueta's cross at the near post.

What's next?

Chelsea travel to face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Tuesday, live on Sky Sports Action (kick-off: 6pm).

Watford host Norwich at Vicarage Road at the same time on Sky Sports Premier League.

Click Here For Official Team Sheet


Chelsea Kepa, James, Zouma, Christensen, Azpilicueta (c), Barkley, Kante (Gilmour 78), Mount (Loftus-Cheek 76), Willian (Hudson-Odoi 76), Giroud (Abraham 76), Pulisic
Subs Not Used Caballero, Rudiger, Alonso, Jorginho, Pedro
Goals Giroud 28, Willian 43 (pen), Barkley 90+2

Watford Foster, Mariappa, Kabasele, Dawson, Kiko (Masina 64), Capoue (Welbeck 58), Chalobah, Sarr (Pereyra 83), Doucoure, Hughes, Deeney (c) (Cleverley 64)
Subs Not Used Gomes, Cathcart, Pedro, Gray, Holebas
Booked Capoue, Mariappa

Attendance 0

Referee Kevin Friend

VAR Graham Scott

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