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Matchday Review

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Mon 18 Feb At 11.02 AM

Highlights | Watford 1-2 Chelsea

  • Etienne Capoue opens the scoring with spectacular strike for his second of the season
     
  • Michy Batshuayi draws Chelsea level on 80 minutes
     
  • Costa wins the game on the counter attack with only minutes left to play

Watford were edged out 2-1 by Chelsea at Vicarage Road this afternoon in the Premier League. 

Goals from Michy Batshuayi and Diego Costa turned the game on its head after Etienne Capoue put the Hornets in front. 

The defeat leaves Walter Mazzarri's men on one point from their opening two games. 

Walter Mazzarri named an unchanged side for his first competitive home game as Watford Head Coach. 

He continued with his preferred 3-5-2 formation, with Heurelho Gomes starting in goal, behind the ever-reliable back three of Craig Cathcart, Sebastian Prödl and Miguel Britos. 

The wingbacks were José Holebas and Nordin Amrabat - who both impressed last weekend against Southampton. The midfield trio saw Valon Behrami playing in a defensive role behind the more advanced pairing of Adlène Guedioura and Etienne Capoue.

Captain Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo led the line for the Hornets once more as they went in search of their first win of the new season.

New signings Younes Kaboul and Roberto Pereyra were unable to play, but were both presented to the Vicarage Road crowd ahead of the match.

Mazzarri and Antonio Conte shared an embrace before kick-off, seemingly putting to bed rumours of a frosty relationship between the pair. 

The Hornets started comfortably and contained an early spell of pressure from the Blues, and Mazzarri's side fashioned the first real opening of the game on seven minutes, as Britos clipped a ball over the top to Holebas, but his low drive was saved by the feet of Thibaut Courtois. 

On ten minutes, Eden Hazard's low drive into the box was well cleared by Holebas as Diego Costa was ready to tap-in.

The hosts were playing with confidence, however they had to remain alert as Oscar found space inside, but he dragged his shot at goal harmlessly wide of Gomes' post.

On 24 minutes the Hornets almost took the lead. Amrabat broke down the right past several Chelsea players before drilling a ball across the box to Ighalo, but the frontman's effort fizzed agonisingly over the bar.

The Hornets continued to threaten. Holebas whipped a ball into the box on 32 minutes which was headed clear into the path of Guedioura but his volley flew over. 

On the stroke of half-time Chelsea won a free-kick in a dangerous area but Hazard's attempt to catch Gomes off guard was unsuccessful as the shot-stopper held on to the Chelsea midfielders' tame-effort. 

The first opening of the second-half fell to Hazard as he got onto the end of Oscar's ball across the box, however he was just unable to steer his effort on-target with his out-stretched boot.

The Hornets stormed into the lead on 55 minutes as Capoue riffled in a spectacular effort for his second goal of the campaign. It was no more than the Hornets deserved for their positive attacking performance. 

Chelsea may have fallen behind but they still looked promising in attack, Nemanja Matić found space on 60 minutes but his effort failed to hit the target. 

The visitors piled on the pressure and spurned a good chance through Hazard whose effort at goal was cleared by Cathcart.

But they didn't have to wait long before drawing level. With ten minutes left to play Hazards' shot was spilled into the path of substitute Michy Batshuayi who had the simple task of tapping the ball in.

Mazzarri was forced into his first change of the afternoon as Capoue was involved in a strong challenge. Abdoulaye Doucouré came on in the centre of midfield for his competitive debut. 

As the game approached its end, the Hornets were hit on the counter by Chelsea and Costa broke free before poking the ball past Gomes.

It was a real sucker-punch as the Mazzarri's men had sloppily lost possession in the attacking third when under no real pressure.

Mazzarri made two changes following the goal as Matej Vydra and Camilo Zuniga both entered the field in place of Guedioura and Holebas.

Chelsea almost had a third through goalscorer Batshuayi as his fierce effort from inside the area cannoned back off of Gomes' bar with what would eventually prove to be the final chance of the game. 

HORNETS: Gomes (GK); Britos, Prödl, Cathcart; Holebas (Zúñiga, 89), Behrami, Guedioura (Vydra,88), Capoue (Doucouré, 84), Amrabat; Deeney (c), Ighalo
Subs not used: Pantilimon (GK), Nyom, Hoban, Anya

Goal: Capoue (55)
Yellow cards: Deeney (19), Britos (68), Holebas (69), Behrami (90)

BLUES: Courtois (GK); Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (c), Azpilicueta; Kante; Pedro (Moses,70), Oscar (Batshuayi,73), Matic (Fabregas,77), Hazard; Costa
Subs not used: Begovic (GK), Aina, Loftus-Cheek, Chalobah, 

Goals: Batshuayi (80), Costa (87)
Yellow cards: Cahill (19), Costa (56), Hazard (90)
 
Referee: Jon Moss
Attendance: 20,772

Report by Ed Henderson

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