Premier League

Chelsea 2-1 Watford: Player ratings as Blues edge Hornets despite late drama

Krishan Davis
Barkley netted a late winner
Barkley netted a late winner / Clive Rose/GettyImages
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From Stamford Bridge - Chelsea wrapped up their Premier League season with a 2-1 victory over Watford on Sunday, despite some late drama at Stamford Bridge.

The result brings the curtain down on what has been a tumultuous campaign for Chelsea. Having led the Premier League in the early months of the season, the Blues fell away dramatically due to a combination of poor form, injuries and Covid-19 cases.

Then, after winning the Club World Cup in February, the Blues were defeated by Liverpool in two domestic cup finals either side of government sanctions being imposed on oligarch owner Roman Abramovich and a painful Champions League exit to Real Madrid.

There was no 'end of season' mentality on display at Stamford Bridge on Sunday though, with the hosts displaying the kind of intensity that has been sorely lacking at times this campaign.

Kai Havertz converted one of the two glorious opportunities that came his way inside 11 minutes. After Daniel Bachmann had produced a save to deny him one-v-one, the Germany international couldn't miss when he was picked out in front of goal by Kenedy's pinpoint low cross.

Chelsea were dominant and went close again after a quarter of an hour, with Saul Niguez bending a low strike narrowly wide from range at the end of an intricate passing move. Mason Mount then spurned a free header, sending the ball bouncing wide at the back post.

Watford did eventually get something of a foothold in the game and Edouard Mendy was called into action. After Edo Kayembe had dragged his effort wide, defender Kiko Femenia controlled at the back post and stung the keeper's fingertips.

Havertz went close from another Kenedy pass in the final action of the first half, latching onto the Brazilian's pass before first the bouncing ball off the top of the crossbar.

Watford's best chance of the match arrived early in the second period. Joao Pedro played a neat one-two in the box before carrying the ball across the area and getting a shot away, but Mendy produced a fine stop to divert it wide.

Thiago Silva bailed Cesar Azpilicueta out on the hour mark when the Spaniard played a no-look back-pass that was headed for the bottom corner, stepping in to cut it out just in time.

After Antonio Rudiger had gone off to a standing ovation on his farewell performance, substitute Ross Barkley woke everyone up with a rasping drive that was tipped over by Bachmann, with both sides seemingly going through the motions as the season ebbed away.

However, the game burst back into life at the death. Watford substitute Dan Gosling popped up at the back post to head in an unlikely equaliser in the 87th minute, but the Hornets' joy was short-lived as Barkley stooped to do the same at the other end and win the match for Chelsea in stoppage time.

Amid the chaos, Ben Chilwell also made his comeback off the bench following a serious knee injury.

Here's how the players rated...


1. Chelsea (3-4-2-1)

Antonio Rudiger, Reece James
Rudiger goes off / Robin Jones/GettyImages

GK: Edouard Mendy - 6/10 - Two good saves before being given no chance by Gosling at the death.

CB: Cesar Azpilicueta - 6/10 - A possible goodbye? Solid as ever but almost made a huge mistake with a loose back pass.

CB: Thiago Silva - 7/10 - Watchful as ever at the back. On his toes to ensure Azpilicueta didn't net a comical own goal.

CB: Antonio Rudiger - 6/10 - His farewell performance. Staunch as ever before being substituted to a standing ovation.

RWB: Reece James - 6/10 - Probably not as involved as he would have liked going forward...but then popped up with an excellent last-minute assist for Barkley.

CM: N'Golo Kante - 6/10 - Able to get on the ball and control the midfield area alongside Saul.

CM: Saul Niguez - 6/10 - Almost certainly his last game for the club. Given the freedom of Stamford Bridge and looked classy as a result.

LWB: Kenedy - 7/10 - Looked keen to impress in his one and only Premier League appearance this season, bagging an assist with a pinpoint low ball.

RF: Hakim Ziyech - 6/10 - Looked in the mood to pull out every trick in the book, with varying degrees of success.

LF: Mason Mount - 7/10 - Buzzed about and caused Watford all sorts of issues. Two lovely through balls for Havertz but the German couldn't capitalise.

ST: Kai Havertz - 7/10 - Started brightly and couldn't miss from Kenedy's cross. Ran hard all game.

SUB: Malang Sarr (58' for Kenedy) - 5/10

SUB: Ross Barkley (66' for Rudiger ) - 7/10 - Went close with a rasping drive, then popped up to win it.

SUB: Ben Chilwell (89' for Mount) - N/A - Great to see him back.

2. Watford (4-3-3)

FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-WATFORD
Gosling beats Mendy / GLYN KIRK/GettyImages

GK: Daniel Bachmann - 5/10 - Made himself big to deny Havertz early on - but the forward beat him soon afterwards. Good save to tip Barkley's rocket over. Got a hand to the winner. Painful.

RB: Kiko Femenia - 5/10 - Stung Mendy's fingertips with a powerful strike but it was a good height. Not accurate enough with his passing but contributed defensively.

CB: Christian Kabasele - 5/10 - Did well to squeeze Havertz out alongside his centre-back partner when he was through on goal.

CB: Samir - 5/10 - See above. Good in the air against Havertz, who usually fancies an aerial duel.

LB: Hassane Kamara - 6/10 - Did well before being forced off injured in the second half.

CM: Moussa Sissoko - 4/10 - Unable to impose himself on the match. Some trademark ball-carries but not up to the standard required.

CM: Edo Kayembe - 5/10 - Watford's most adventurous midfielder initially. Looked confident and went fairly close with a low shot. Faded as the game went on.

CM: Tom Cleverley - 6/10 - Some robust challenges. Tackled and battled well.

RW: Josh King - 3/10 - Got through some defensive work but hardly involved in truth.

ST: Joao Pedro - 5/10 - Caused a few issues and went closer than anyone else in red, but was brilliantly denied by Mendy.

LW: Ken Sema - 3/10 - Lost out in the vast majority of his duels and was kept at arm's length by Azpilicueta and James.

SUB: Cucho Hernandez (71' for King) - 5/10

SUB: Adam Masina (78' for Kamara) - 6/10 - Excellent assist with one of few touches.

SUB: Dan Gosling (82' for Kayembe) - 7/10 - Essentially one touch, one goal off the bench!


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