Diego Costa was the man of the moment for a second week running as Conte’s Chelsea made it two 2-1 wins from two.
After a goalless first-half, Capoue opened the scoring for the hosts, and it was looking like the Hornets would seal an unlikely victory. But super-sub Michy Batshuayi equalised with 10 minutes left and Diego Costa proved his worth with another last-gasp winner for the second week running.
It means Chelsea maintain their 100% winning record, and whilst both wins were unconvincing, the attitutde and never-say-die mentality will please the new boss Conte as an indication his side can grind out matches against tougher opponents, though the lack of free-flowing football may not please owner Abramovich.
A rough start to the match with unfavourable weather conditions saw the opening stages of the match draw plenty of cynical fouls, with Deeney and Cahill both seeing yellow by Jonathan Moss.
Ighalo had the game’s first chance thwarted by Cahill but it was a first-half with little action and a lack of fluency.
The same would not be said about the second half. Guedioura was given time to cross and Capoue capitalised on the space Chelsea afforded him, striking high past Courtois.
The visitors looked to bounce back through Hazard, Pedro and finally Ivanovic, but Gomes was not to be denied.
Moses, Batshuayi and Fabregas all came on in a bid by Conte to inject some pace, and what a triple substituion it turned out to be.
Fabregas instantly found Hazard who fired in a low shot at Gomes’ goal, and despite a good dave, the loose ball found its way to the feet of Batshuayi who pounced to make it 1-1.
The Blues were not content on just the equaliser, with them desperately searching for the winner in the final 10 minutes, but the only obstacle in their way was time.
Batshuayi tried to turn provider by finding Ivanovic but the Serbian was denied. The club he was represrnting for the 250th time would not be denied for long though.
Fabregas again fed a delicious ball to compatriot Costa who took a deep breath and swept the ball underneath Gomes to seal another victory, which could have been made more handsome by Batshuayi in injury time but for the woodwork.
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Man of the Match
MICHY BATSHUAYI: What a super-sub! The Belgian has been overlooked with Costa preferred by Conte but shows he can still deliver a knock-out blow, equalising well and also hitting the post. The man is a beast and completely justified Conte bringing him on, causing Watford all sorts of problems in the box as the Hornets started to tire. 8/10
Conte was delighted: “I’m pleased to see the reaction from my players and this win is very important for us as it gives everyone confidence. I think we showed a great intensity in the second half and we pushed them a lot. I’m pleased for the substitutes. They didn’t start but they showed great attitude and commitment with Fabregas and Batshuayi making a real impact.”
Mazzarri rued lapses in concentration: “I am happy for how we played for 70-80 minutes because we played very well but I am not happy with the result. They scored two goals that could have been avoided.”