Watford 1-2 Chelsea: Eden Hazard double earns Blues victory
Highlights and report as Eden Hazard passes 100 goals for Chelsea
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 27/12/18 6:42am
Eden Hazard scored both goals for Chelsea as they beat Watford 2-1 at Vicarage Road to move back into fourth place in the Premier League.
Hazard netted his 100th goal for Chelsea in all competitions when he opened the scoring in the first minute of added time in the first half although, just over two minutes later, Roberto Pereyra equalised for Watford (45+3).
The Belgian scored his second goal of the evening in the 58th minute after he won a penalty, with Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster bundling him over in the area. He then sent Foster the wrong way from the spot and ultimately sealed the win for Chelsea.
It puts the Blues back in the top four in the Premier League table on 40 points after Arsenal's draw at Brighton had briefly seen them drop down to fifth. Watford remain in ninth.
Watford: Foster (6), Femenia (6), Kabasele (n/a), Cathcart (5), Holebas (7), Doucoure (7), Capoue (5), Sema (6), Pereyra (6), Deulofeu (7), Deeney (6).
Subs used: Mariappa (6), Quina (6), Success (n/a).
Chelsea: Kepa (6), Azpilicueta (7), Rudiger (7), Luiz (7), Alonso (6), Jorginho (7), Kante (6), Kovacic (7), Hazard (8), Pedro (6), Willian (7).
Subs used: Hudson-Odoi (6), Barkley (n/a), Emerson (n/a).
Man of the match: Eden Hazard.
Chelsea had the first chance of the game in the 11th minute. Mateo Kovacic broke down the field before picking out Willian on the left flank. The Brazilian then cut inside - getting around the oncoming Foster - before trying to slot home on the angle but Christian Kabasele was there to see it behind. However, the Watford defender clattered into the upright with his armpit and was substituted not long after.
Watford went close just after the half an hour mark, but a woeful finish from Abdoulaye Doucoure after a gut-busting run from Pereyra saw the ball fly high over the crossbar. Chelsea then had a chance at the other end, but Hazard was not able to turn a fizzing Cesar Azpilicueta cross home, trying to use his heel to turn it home.
Both Watford and Chelsea named unchanged XIs from their weekend fixtures. Chelsea made two changes on the bench with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Davide Zappacosta replaced by Callum Hudson-Odoi and Emerson.
But the goals came thick and fast as four minutes of added time were shown. Hazard got his 100th Chelsea goal inside the first minute as Kovacic took advantage of a poor square pass from Etienne Capoue, picking out Hazard to the left. The Belgian then rounded the oncoming Foster before slotting home into an open net.
Just over two minutes later - 137 seconds to be exact - and Watford were level. It came from a corner after Kepa Arrizabalaga did well to keep out Doucoure at the near post. Jose Holebas delivered the set-piece, which found an unmarked Pereyra at the top of the area and he hit an arrowing volley through the packed box into the bottom corner.
Chelsea retook the lead 13 minutes after the restart after being awarded a penalty as Foster bundled into Hazard in the area. Hazard stepped up to take and sent the Watford goalkeeper the wrong way as he notched his second goal of the evening.
The visitors continued to go close as the game wore on, with Willian seeing an effort ping off the post in the 72nd minute after a lovely cross from Hazard before the Belgian was involved again not long after with a storming Chelsea break. He picked out Kante to his right, but with Watford defenders closing in, the midfielder could only send his shot past the far post.
A minute later Doucoure put a lovely cross into the area for Troy Deeney - who had got ahead of David Luiz - but he did not catch the ball well and lifted it over the crossbar from inside the six-yard box as the game ended in defeat for Watford.
Christmas is for football
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- Chelsea have only lost one of their seven Premier League games against opponents that started the day in the top 10 this season (W3 D3), with that lone defeat coming against Spurs in November (1-3 at Wembley).
- After losing just three of their first 13 home league games under Javi Gracia (W8 D2), Watford have since lost three of their last four (W1).
- Eden Hazard became the 10th different player to have scored 100 goals in all competitions for Chelsea (now on 101).
- Watford midfielder Roberto Pereyra has scored three goals in three Premier League appearances against Chelsea - more than against any other opponent in the competition.
Javi Gracia: "I think we've competed very well. We conceded one in the first and then we scored our goal, and in a moment when we were playing better, we conceded the second goal. It was difficult because we know they are a very good team but I think we competed very well."
Maurizio Sarri: "I think that we played a good match with a good level of determination and attention for 90 minutes. I think we could have won with another result, we missed three or four good opportunities in the last 20 minutes but I am really very happy with the reaction and application for 95 minutes. Today we reacted very well while playing our football."
Man of the match - Eden Hazard
Who else? It was a vintage Hazard performance and he hit an important milestone with his century for Chelsea in all competitions. He continued to show why he is so important for the west London sides, being involved in many of the attacks, and he could well have had a hat-trick.
But with three shots, two on target and two scored, it was still a successful evening and a late Christmas present for the Belgian, with Sky Sports pundit Alex Scott calling his performance 'absolutely superb'.
Watford are back at Vicarage Road on Saturday as they host Newcastle in the Premier League while Chelsea make the short trip to Crystal Palace on Sunday with their 12pm kick-off live on Sky Sports Premier League.