Chelsea’s cataclysmic display at Vicarage Road has heaped immediate scrutiny on the Blue’s under-pressure boss, as a flat performance from his side saw a bold Watford side secure a first win under the guidance of Javi Garcia.
With most of the pre-match talk surrounding the uncertain future of Antonio Conte, the Italian will have been hoping to have seen a display of solidarity from his men on the pitch.
Instead, he was greeted with arguably the worst performance of his tenure as Chelsea boss.
Watford had the better of the opening exchanges of what appeared to be a match that would be a tight contest, taking the game to a Chelsea team that have endured a bumpy run of games.
However, the game was blown wide open in the 30th minute when Chelsea’s Tiémoué Bakayoko was sent off for a second bookable offence that capped off a woeful performance that saw him score -2 points.
The Hornets took the lead 12 minutes later when the game’s star performer Gerard Deulofeu was dragged down by the Chelsea goalkeeper to earn a penalty that was dispatched with aplomb by Watford skipper Troy Deeney – who bagged four points from the match.
The rest of the game remained a tight tussle between the two sides before Chelsea appeared to have secured an unlikely point when a phenomenal long range 82nd minute strike from Eden Hazard bettered Watford’s Orestis Karnezis.
However, what followed was a complete capitulation from the visitors.
Just two minutes after drawing level, Chelsea saw themselves quickly fall behind again as Daryl Janmaat finished off an intricate one-two with Roberto Pereyra, slotting home with a left foot effort to reinstate his side’s lead.
Having quickly surrendered the lead back to their hosts, the Chelsea resolve dissipated into the abyss as Watford’s Deulofeu and Pereyra added the third and a fourth goals in the tie’s dying embers – Pereyra’s goal and assist seeing him secure an impressive eight points this season.
The biggest loser of the game was the Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, whose haphazard performance saw him score an abysmal -10 points as he conceded a penalty and shipped four goals.
The Belgian may not have delivered a performance at the exceptionally high levels that he is capable of but he was significantly let down by a defensive line that appeared devoid of confidence.
Having gone from one of the tightest defences in the league, Chelsea have now shipped seven goals in their last two league games – a concerning run of form for last season’s champions.
Conte’s men have thirteen games to turn around a run of form that has seen what appeared to be a comfortable Champions League position come under significant pressure from the likes of Tottenham and Liverpool.
It will seemingly now take all of last season’s league winning mettle if they are to retain a spot within Europe’s elite competition.
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