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FA Cup finalists Watford started brightly, going close through Troy Deeney and Gerard Deulofeu, but were left to rue their slow start to the second half that saw Chelsea quickly take the game away from them.
Watford created Maurizio Sarri’s side numerous problems, especially in a one-sided first-half, with Kepa Arrizabalaga making one of the saves of the season to deny Troy Deeney.
Even at a club where life is never simple these are strange times indeed. Chelsea have secured Champions League football, reached the League Cup final earlier this year and could secure passage to Baku and the Europa League final later this week, yet Sarri remains unloved. Perhaps the rather chaotic first-half showing here partly explained why, given their lack of pattern or focus as Watford, slicker and stronger, threatened to run riot.
Watford struck the frame of the goal twice and spurned a host of chances and given the opportunities they created and the positive way they played it is odd that they finish this season having lost their last 11 games against the ‘Big Six’.
To be fair, and as was reflected by a venerable Chelsea panel in the tube afterwards, we started the game as unlike a side preoccupied with the Cup Final as it’s possible to imagine. We were lively, assertive and direct, pinning the home side back with some verve and energy.
We left plenty of time for our walk to Stamford Bridge and to negotiate our way past the multiple phalanxes of security guards. There was a surprise in store as we were greeted by a voice announcing, “FA Cup Finalists to the left.” I was still smiling when I heard another directing us on “The road to Wembley.” A rather lovely and unexpected welcome which meant that my opinion of Chelsea went up massively.