Player ratings as Blues edge past Hornets despite late drama

From Stamford Bridge – Chelsea concluded their Premier League season with a 2-1 win over Watford on Sunday, despite late drama at Stamford Bridge.

The result ends what has been a tumultuous campaign for Chelsea. After leading the Premier League in the opening months of the season, the Blues have fallen dramatically due to a combination of poor form, injuries and Covid-19 cases.

Then, after winning the Club World Cup in February, the Blues were beaten by Liverpool in two domestic cup finals on either side of government sanctions imposed on oligarch owner Roman Abramovich and a painful exit from the Champions League to Real Madrid.

There was no ‘end of season’ mentality at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, however, with the hosts displaying the kind of intensity that has been sorely lacking at times this campaign.

Kai Havertz converted one of two glorious opportunities that came his way in 11 minutes. After Daniel Bachmann made a save to deny him a one-on-one, the Germany international couldn’t miss when he was picked off in front of goal by Kenedy’s low cross.

Chelsea dominated and closed again after a quarter of an hour, Saul Niguez bending a low shot from just wide at the end of a complex passing motion. Mason Mount then repelled a free header, sending the ball bouncing wide at the back post.

Watford finally got a foothold in the game and Edouard Mendy was called into action. After Edo Kayembe extended his effort, defender Kiko Femenia checked at the far post and pricked the keeper’s fingertips.

Havertz closed in on another pass from Kenedy in the final action of the first half, latching onto the Brazilian’s pass before the ball bounced off the top of the crossbar.

Watford’s best chance of the game came early in the second half. Joao Pedro played a neat brace into the box before carrying the ball across the box and firing wide, but Mendy produced a fine save to deflect it.

Thiago Silva bailed Cesar Azpilicueta on the hour mark when the Spaniard played a no-look back pass that headed to the bottom corner, stepping in to cut it off just in time.

After Antonio Rudiger was given a standing ovation for his farewell performance, substitute Ross Barkley woke everyone up with a raspy workout that was knocked down by Bachmann, with both sides seemingly going through the motions as the season wore on. .

However, the game broke back in life to death. Watford substitute Dan Gosling appeared at the far post to head for an unlikely 87th-minute equalizer but the Hornets’ joy was short-lived as Barkley leaned in to do the same at the other bout and win the game for Chelsea in stoppage time. .

Amid the chaos, Ben Chilwell also made his return to the bench after a serious knee injury.

Here’s how players rated…

Antonio Rudiger, Reece James

Rudiger walks away / Robin Jones/GettyImages

GK: Edouard Mendy – 6/10 – Two good saves before being given no chance by Gosling at the death.

CB: Cesar Azpilicueta – 6/10 – A possible goodbye? Solid as always, but nearly made a huge mistake with a loose back pass.

CB: Thiago Silva – 7/10 – Vigilant as always at the rear. On his toes to make sure Azpilicueta doesn’t score a comedic own goal.

CB: Antonio Rudiger – 6/10 – His farewell show. Faithful as never before being replaced by a standing ovation.

RWB: Reece James – 6/10 – Probably not as involved as he would have liked in the future… but then he popped up with an excellent last-minute assist for Barkley.

WC: N’Golo Kante – 6/10 – Able to take the ball and control the midfield area alongside Saul.

WC: Saul Niguez – 6/10 – Almost certainly his last game for the club. Given the freedom of Stamford Bridge and looks chic as a result.

LSF: Kenedy – 7/10 – Looked eager to impress in his one and only Premier League appearance this season, earning an assist with an accurate low ball.

RF: Hakim Ziyech – 6/10 – Seemed in the mood to pull all the tricks out of the book, with varying degrees of success.

LF: Mount Mason – 7/10 – Was buzzing and causing Watford all sorts of problems. Two fine through balls for Havertz but the German couldn’t capitalize.

ST: Kai Havertz – 7/10 – Started brilliantly and couldn’t miss Kenedy’s center. Ran hard all game.

SUB: Malang Sarr (58′ for Kenedy) – 5/10

SUB: Ross Barkley (66′ for Rudiger) – 7/10 – Went close with a raspy drive, then popped up to win it.

SUB: Ben Chilwell (89′ for Mount) – N/A – Great to see him again.

FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-WATFORD

Gosling defeats Mendy / GLYN KIRK/GettyImages

GK: Daniel Bachmann – 5/10 – He made himself big to deny Havertz early on – but the striker beat him soon after. Good stop to rock Barkley’s Rocket. I gave the winner a helping hand. Sore.

DD: Kiko Femenia – 5/10 – Stung Mendy’s fingertips with a powerful strike but it was a good height. Not precise enough in his passes but contributed defensively.

DC: Christian Kabasele – 5/10 – Did well to press Havertz alongside his centre-back partner when he was in goal.

DC: Samir – 5/10 – See above. Good in the air against Havertz, who usually likes an aerial duel.

LB: Hassane Kamara – 6/10 – Did well before being sent off injured in the second half.

WC: Moussa Sissoko – 4/10 – Unable to win the game. Some branded ball carriers but not up to the required standard.

WC: Edo Kayembe – 5/10 – Watford’s most adventurous starting midfielder. Looked confident and went pretty close with a low shot. Fade out as the game progressed.

WC: Tom Cleverley – 6/10 – Some robust challenges. Well tackled and well fought.

RW: Josh King – 3/10 – Went through defensive work but barely involved in truth.

ST: João Pedro – 5/10 – Caused some trouble and went closer than anyone in red, but was brilliantly denied by Mendy.

LW: Ken Sema – 3/10 – Lost in the vast majority of his duels and kept at bay by Azpilicueta and James.

UNDER: Cucho Hernandez (71′ for King) – 5/10

SUB: Adam Masina (78′ for Kamara) – 6/10 – Excellent assistance with one of the few touches.

SUB: Dan Gosling (82′ for Kayembe) – 7/10 – Essentially a throw-in, a goal off the bench!

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About Victoria Rothstein

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