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Chelsea 4-2 Watford: A pivotal moment in Chelsea's season as substitutions by Conte win the game.

Chelsea beat Watford on Saturday lunchtime 4-2 with goals from Pedro, Cesar Azpilicueta and a brace from Michy Batshuayi. It is a result ...


Chelsea beat Watford on Saturday lunchtime 4-2 with goals from Pedro, Cesar Azpilicueta and a brace from Michy Batshuayi. It is a result that could prove to be a pivotal moment in our season. 

Say what you will about the defensive performance (more on that in my next post) but you have to commend the manager for making the tactical substitutions at the time he did because they had the desired effect.


People talk about Antonio Conte being under immense pressure having lost the previous two Premier League games with talk referring to the likes of what happened to Carlo Ancelotti, Roberto Di Matteo and Jose Mourinho. At 1-2 down in the game with Watford wasting TWO clear cut opportunities to score from close range, Conte was thinking about his next move.

Antonio Conte signed an improved contract in the summer to keep him from the clutches of wealthy owners in Italy and when you are earning big bucks, you have to make big decisions. At the end of the day that's what he is paid to do. The role of a manager or head-coach is not just about setting your team up and preparing them for the next game, it's also about influencing the game from the touchline and once again he did exactly that.

He made bold decisions to substitute Alvaro Morata with Michy Batshuayi on the hour. To then replace Marcos Alonso with Willian on 68 minutes which moved Cesar Azpilicueta over to the left as our wing-back and Pedro moving to right wing-back.


What happened three minutes later? Pedro picks up the ball wide right and plays a pinpoint ball into the box for Michy Batshuayi who has made a fantastic run across the defence to flick a header into the corner to make it 2-2.


Then with minutes remaining in the game, Conte makes his third change and replaces Pedro with David Zappacosta. Almost instantly, the Italian combines with Willian down our right hand side, Willian skips passed the defender and is in on the right wing, he looks up and plays a fantastic ball into the box which, by way of a slight deflection, finds it's way to the back post for Cesar Azpilicueta (who is now playing left wing-back) to divert the ball home into the corner to make it 3-2 Chelsea with minutes remaining!

Michy Batshuayi wraps up the three points with a really well taken goal demonstrating his movement and willingness to fight for the ball deep into injury time, to hold off the challenge from the defender and stab the ball into the net to make it 4-2 to complete a remarkable turn around.

I cannot emphasise this enough, when your under pressure and your backs are firmly placed against that wall you need to see a reaction. We had not had that in the Arsenal game, we certainly saw nothing against Manchester City and nothing of note against Crystal Palace in the Premier League. The turnaround in this one was massive in my view and could prove to be a pivotal moment in our season.

Speaking after the game Cesar Azpilicueta said:

"We had to dig in until the last minute and we showed our spirit.

It wasn't our best game but we got an important win for our confidence after three games without winning.

We started really well and had chances to score the second. The confidence was a bit lower because of their second goal but we didn't given up. It's a big win for us.

We know it's a long season and will have ups and downs but this is the first step to get the confidence up."

Rather than slate the manager, criticise him like some so-called blogs and websites are doing while others concentrate their efforts on digging out individual players, why not pay immense credit to the manager and his players for his changes and their efforts to fightback for the three points!


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