Not even the evil (i.e. wildly inconsistent) powers of VAR, nor the Lev Yashin-esque superkeeper turn from Ben Foster could prevent Chelsea from winning on Saturday, notching a league-best fifth consecutive win, and collecting a seventh straight away win to match a 30-year club mark, with the 2-1 triumph over Watford at Vicarage Road.
It was a largely comfortable afternoon for the Blues against the bottom side in the Premier League, until we got too comfortable, played ourselves into trouble, and found ourselves on the wrong side of the VAR eye in the sky (again and again).
Updated VAR decisions by club:— Dale Johnson (@DaleJohnsonESPN) November 3, 2019
Total overturns: 27
Leading to goals: 7
Leading to disallowed goals: 16
Penalties awarded: 5 (2 missed)
Penalties cancelled: 1
Red cards: 1
Most against: Chelsea 4
Most for: Leicester 4
Most involved: Leicester, West Ham 5https://t.co/bSzZIxIjM6
Fortunately, Kepa came up big in the dying moments to deny an equalizer, and Chelsea were able to collect all three points to keep pace with the rest of the top four, who have now opened up a nice 6-point gap to the rest of the league.
Given the manner in which and personnel with whom Chelsea are accomplishing these results, there are plenty of things to be happy about. And to be sure, Frank Lampard is quite happy indeed. But he’s also the head coach, and a head coach who preaches constant effort, work, and improvement, so he has to have at least one gripe. He might have more than one — he probably has more than one — but he revealed only just one in his post-match comments.
“At times we are certainly producing some of the form that I want from us. Our work off the ball in some games where we have been pushed hard, like Ajax away and Liverpool, has really pleased me.
“They have worked on that in training to a level where they are fit enough. In periods of games I am pleased with the way we combine and switch the ball. If I’ve got a gripe it is that we are not sustaining that for long enough at a time.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Telegraph
While Lampard acknowledges that Chelsea’s opponents might have a bit of say about all that as well, he wants his team to improve because he knows they can improve. We will face tougher opposition than Watford as soon as Tuesday, when Ajax come to town in the must-not-lose fourth match of the Champions League group stage.
“I know it is not easy but we always strive for more. I’m pleased with big parts but I feel that we can get better.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Mail
And that’s how winners are made.