Thomas Tuchel has called it basically the worst performance of his Chelsea tenure, last night’s 2-1 win at Vicarage Road, and he’s probably not wrong. The team’s play was found lacking severely in most, if not all aspects, lacking control in midfield, cohesion in defense, and devoid of attacking threat at the other end as well.
Perhaps most damning of all, Chelsea largely lacked quality and, as Tuchel himself put it, some courage — both physical and mental. It’s what he was hoping to change with his substitutions, adding Thiago Silva (and moving Trevoh Chalobah into midfield) at half-time, then adding Hakim Ziyech (scorer of the eventual match-winner) and Romelu Lukaku (who’s slowly working his way back from injury still).
“The goal from Mason but it didn’t really help us to find the grip on the game and to grow into it. Then we conceded.
“Of course we were hoping, trying to influence the game from the bench with offensive changes. [We] tried to infuse some courage with offensive changes because we hoped maybe spaces will open if Watford continued to attack so brave with their high number 8s and we can find a better transition game.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
Tuchel’s subs might not have fully changed the flow of the game, as he might have been hoping, but they still played a massive role in taking the three points back home with us. The grand plan with Chalobah didn’t last long after he had picked up an injury, while Ziyech was far from his best (like most of his teammates) even if he did pop up with a crucial goal (his first in the league this season). Lukaku provided a terrific outlet though he himself did not come close to scoring.
These are the sorts of games champions must win, as the cliche goes, and indeed we were able to avoid dropping points despite being far off our best. Tuchel didn’t want to dwell on it too much, with another game in just 48 hours, so hopefully it will indeed remain just a blip.