A spirited goalkeeping performance from Ben Foster – who made no fewer than eight saves – prevented Chelsea from extinguishing Watford’s challenge, which was boosted 10 minutes from time when a controversial VAR-awarded penalty was converted by Gerard Deulofeu.
Given that it was little more than a duel between Ben Foster and Chelsea’s forwards at times, it would have been a strange twist if the goalkeeper had rescued a point for Watford with the game’s final act. They were into the sixth minute of added time when Foster, who had kept his side in it with countless saves, decided to charge forward after Mason Mount conceded a free-kick deep on the left, and it would have been an extraordinary ending if the 36-year-old’s downward header had crept beyond Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Despite their spirited late comeback, Watford remain without a win in 11 league games – 15 going back to last season – and stay at the bottom of the table, so this should have been the perfect fixture to get Frank Lampard’s team back on track after their midweek home defeat by Manchester United in the Carabao Cup.
When we give away a stupid goal after five reasonably positive minutes, albeit a goal carved by a remarkable through ball you can feel the stadium deflate. “Well, that’s that then”, which it sort of was and sort of wasn’t. But what a half-witted way to concede, no wonder Ben Foster screamed with frustration. When you can’t score goals keeping it tight, particularly against an opponent like this one, one that revels in playing away from home, is everything.