Chelsea had another hero to thank for Watford win aside from Mount and Ziyech - TCC View

Chelsea huffed and puffed but they eventually blew Watford’s nest down.

The Hornets gave Thomas Tuchel’s men a real sting at Vicarage Road yesterday.

Claudio Ranieri’s side were on the front foot from the first whistle, feeding off the home crowd’s energy and optimism.

Tuchel had made six changes from the weekend draw with Manchester United, due to an ever-expanding injury list.

His team lacked cohesion, a weakness that Watford managed to exploit.


Chelsea far from cruising

Mason Mount’s opener was the only thing clean about Chelsea’s first-half performance, as they felt the wrath of their guest’s enthusiasm.

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

15 minutes after going behind, the hosts were level thanks to persistence, pressure and poor decision-making from Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Moussa Sissoko stole the ball off Loftus-Cheek on the halfway line and drove upfield.

Sissoko eventually fed Emmanuel Dennis, whose deflected strike nestled in the bottom corner.

Watford could’ve been clear of the league leaders – rather than drawing with them – had it not been for one man in the opposing colours.

Knight in shining armour

Understandably, Mount and eventual match-winner Hakim Ziyech will grab the headlines on an evening void of quality from Tuchel’s squad.

Yet, Edouard Mendy justifies a mention for his efforts in keeping Chelsea afloat and within reach of the three points.

Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Thrice he denied Watford in the opening exchanges, with saves of varying class.

His first – a diving double palmed push – prevented Cesar Azpilicueta’s blushes, after Joa Pedro’s header rebounded off the Spaniard’s knee and curled goalward.

Mendy then dropped down low to block Danny Roses’ stinging shot, who found himself unmarked at the back-post.

The Senegalese international could do little about Dennis’ attempt, which took a ricochet off Antonio Rudiger’s leg on its way through.

Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

Moments later, he dropped to the surface to stop Sissoko’s admittedly weak drive that should’ve put Watford in front.

Chelsea survived the initial onslaught thanks to their ‘keeper, yet were indebted again after the interval.

Tom Cleverly found himself through on goal, following a defence-splitting pass from midfield, only to be met by the mighty presence of Mendy, who had strayed far from his net to meet the on-rushing opponent.

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

A parry from Juraj Kucka’s speculative free-kick was the final action of the night for Chelsea’s unsung hero.

Gloves made of gold, Mendy really is priceless to the Blues.  

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.