Chelsea just can’t stop winning Premier League matches. The Blues’ slow start to the Frank Lampard era is a distant memory now, with Lampard’s young guns reeling off their fifth consecutive Prem victory and seventh in a row on the road with Saturday’s 2-1 win at Watford.
Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic scored goals on either side of halftime for Chelsea, and goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga preserved the three points with a late save after the Hornets pulled one back from the penalty spot.
The result means the Blues least temporarily leapfrogged Leicester City into third place behind leaders Liverpool and second-place Manchester City, with the Foxes scheduled to visit Crystal Palace on Sunday.
Here are three quick thoughts on the match.
Chelsea’s quick start set the tone
As they had in each of their previous four wins — and in nine consecutive games across all competitions — Lampard’s side struck first blood.
Abraham put the guests ahead before the match was five minutes old. The young striker completed the beautiful scoring sequence with one silky touch, steering Jorghinho’s pass-of-the-season candidate into the net behind Watford backstop Ben Foster for his ninth goal this campaign and seventh away from home:
The Blues took that 1-0 lead into the dressing room at halftime. But the score could’ve been considerably more lopsided in Chelsea’s favor if not for the heroics of Foster, who made a number of spectacular stops.
He denied Abraham in the second half with a full-stretch effort, but his best one of all probably came right before the break, when Foster did juuuust enough to finger-tip Pulisic’s looping header away from goal:
Another strong performance from Pulisic
As expected, Pulisic made his third start in a row, the American’s hat trick against Burnley last weekend more than enough to keep his place despite a comparatively quiet showing in the midweek Carabao Cup loss to Manchester United.
Pulisic was clearly back atop his game in this one. The 21-year-old looked lively and dangerous from the start, and although he was unlucky not to convert on that first-half header, he eventually added his fourth goal in the last two league games.
Willian started the scoring play with a surging run into the box. He found Abraham, who played provider this time by playing the ball across Foster’s 6-yard box for Pulisic to tap home:
Lampard replaced the U.S. national teamer with Callum Hudson-Odoi with seven minutes remaining, and Pulisic received a warm ovation from the traveling supporters, for good reason. There’s no reason to think he won’t be back in his manager’s lineup when Chelsea welcomes Ajax to Stamford Bridge Tuesday in the the Champions League.
A nervous ending, but the Blues do just enough to hold off the Hornets
The contest appeared over when Pulisic scored, but a controversial penalty decision cut Chelsea’s lead in half and made the final 10 minutes of the match uncomfortable for Lampard’s side.
Gerard Deulofeu sent Kepa the wrong way after the video assistant referee spotted an infraction inside the box:
But the Spanish custodian would get the last laugh in second-half stoppage time when he kept out a last-gasp effort from Foster of all people, who had come up the field as Watford desperately searched for the equalizer:
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