Chelsea Hang On At Watford To Go Third  (Sky Sports)

Watford 1 Chelsea 2

Tammy AbrahamTammy Abraham scored one and set up another but Chelsea had to weather a late Watford rally to secure a 2-1 victory that lifts them up to third in the Premier League.

Abraham arrested a run of four games without a goal with a brilliant lofted finish inside five minutes at Vicarage Road - his seventh goal away from home this season - and then turned provider 10 minutes into the second half when his precise cross was tapped home by Christian Pulisic.

A spirited goalkeeping performance from Ben Foster - who made no fewer than eight saves - prevented Chelsea from extinguishing Watford's challenge, which was boosted 10 minutes from time when a controversial VAR-awarded penalty was converted by Gerard Deulofeu.

Watford threw everything at Chelsea in search of an unlikely point but were denied deep in stoppage-time as a towering header from goalkeeper Foster was denied by the fingertips of Kepa Arrizabalaga as Chelsea held on for a club-record equalling seventh consecutive away victory, leaving Watford bottom and without a league win after 11 games.

Player ratings

Watford: Foster (8), Janmaat (5), Kabasele (6), Dawson (6), Cathcart (5), Masina (6), Chalobah (6), Doucoure (6), Deulofeu (7), Pereyra (6), Gray (6).

Subs: Mariappa (6), Hughes (6), Femenia (5).

Chelsea: Kepa (7), Azpilicueta (6), Zouma (7), Tomori (7), Emerson (6), Jorginho (7), Kovacic (8), Willian (7), Mount (7), Pulisic (8), Abraham (8).

Subs: Hudson-Odoi (n/a), Batshuayi (n/a), James (n/a).

Man of the Match: Tammy Abraham

How Chelsea held on to move third

Chelsea started the day 16 places and 15 points ahead of Watford in the table - and the gulf between the two sides took just five minutes to surface. Jorginho's instinctive first-time through ball released Abraham in behind the static Watford backline, and the in-form striker notched his ninth goal of the season with a clinical lob over the on-rushing Foster.

Chelsea threatened to run away with contest inside the opening 20 minutes and would have done had it not been for the inspired Foster, who produced a fine reflex save to deny Abraham a second after a deflected Mason Mount shot fell in his path before a looping Pulisic header was tipped behind.

Watford's cause was hampered by the loss of captain Craig Cathcart to injury, but they nearly drew level on 39 minutes when from lax Chelsea defending allowed Deulofeu to drift in from the right and flash a low shot inches wide.

Team news

Andre Gray replaced the injured Tom Cleverley in Watford’s only change from their goalless draw with Bournemouth. Frank Lampard followed suit, making one change from Chelsea’s victory at Burnley as Emerson Palmieri made his first appearance since September in place of Marcos Alonso.

Normal service resumed before the interval, though, as a stunning fingertip save from Foster tipped a thunderous Mount drive onto the crossbar, keeping Watford in the game when Chelsea should have been out of sight.

A fine block from Fikayo Tomori prevented Andre Gray from capitalising on Chelsea surrendering possession early in the second half, but it wasn't long before Foster was called upon again to parry a near-post drive from Mount wide.

And the Chelsea pressure finally told on 55 minutes when Willian found Abraham down the right channel and his inch-perfect cross set up Pulisic for the simplest of tap-ins - his fourth goal in two league matches.

The outstretched leg of Foster denied Pulisic a quick-fire second and his continued efforts between the sticks were rewarded on 79 minutes when Jorginho was penalised for a trip on Deulofeu after a lengthy VAR consultation.

The Spaniard coolly sent Kepa the wrong way to set up a grandstand finale that saw Watford nearly snatch a point, but the Chelsea goalkeeper had the final word with a last-gasp save from his opposite number Foster that secured a deserved win for Frank Lampard's side.

Opta stats

Chelsea have won seven consecutive away games in all competitions - their joint-longest winning run on the road in the club's history (also seven between February-April 1989 under Bobby Campbell).

Watford have failed to win any of their opening 11 games to a league season for the first time in their history (D5 L6). They are the first team to do so in the Premier League since QPR in 2012-13.

Christian Pulisic has been directly involved in nine goals for Chelsea in all competitions this season (4 goals, 5 assists); only Tammy Abraham has been involved in more (12) - while eight of those nine goal involvements have come away from Stamford Bridge, including all four goals.

What's next?

Watford travel to Norwich live on Friday Night Football, live on Sky Sports Premier League at 8pm. Chelsea entertain Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday at 8pm before hosting Crystal Palace on Saturday at 12.30pm.


Watford Foster, Kabasele, Dawson, Cathcart (c) (Mariappa 20), Janmaat (Kiko 75), Doucoure, Chalobah (Hughes 67), Masina, Deulofeu, Gray, Pereyra
Subs Not Used Gomes, Success, Holebas, Foulquier
Booked Kabasele, Janmaat, Dawson, Mariappa
Goals Deulofeu 80 (pen)

Chelsea Kepa, Azpilicueta (c), Tomori, Zouma, Emerson, Kovacic, Jorginho, Willian (James 90+5), Mount, Abraham (Batshuayi 88), Pulisic (Hudson-Odoi 83)
Subs Not Used Caballero, Alonso, Gilmour, Giroud
Booked Jorginho, Mount
Goals Abraham 5, Pulisic 55

Attendance 21,011

Referee Anthony Taylor

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