Watford manager Claudio Ranieri has said there was little his side could do last night when opponents Chelsea turned to the firepower on their bench.

Chelsea left Vicarage Road on Wednesday night with three points in the Premier League after a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Watford.

Emmanuel Dennis scored an equalising goal for hosts Watford to cancel out Mason Mount’s opener during a first half they were the better side in.

However, Blues substitute Hakim Ziyech fired in the winning goal after entering the action in the second half.

Ranieri, who is an ex-Chelsea boss, admitted Watford were left in real trouble when his former employers turned to their bench. In particular, he name-checked substitutes Ziyech and Romelu Lukaku are two standout players that Chelsea used. 

“Of course, the Chelsea squad has two big teams, [one is] also on the bench. There isn’t a player who doesn’t play, play everybody. When you can change and put on Lukaku, Ziyech and the others, what can we do?” Ranieri said.

Watford v Chelsea - Premier League
Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Chelsea squad will be tested

Of course, clubs like Chelsea are going to have far stronger squad depth than the likes of Watford. Last night’s opponents deserve immense credit for the level of their performance, even if the Blues were well below par.

The introduction of Thiago Silva, Ziyech and Lukaku from the bench highlights the kind of options available to Blues manager Thomas Tuchel.

Meanwhile, the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi, Jorginho and Timo Werner were left on the sidelines. Also, Mateo Kovacic, N’Golo Kante, Ben Chilwell and Reece James were all missing through injury.

Tuchel is going to need the entire squad throughout the festive schedule because it seems unlikely that Manchester City or Liverpool will drop that many points.

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