Thereafter, profligacy rather spared the visitors until Hazard, whipping in a glorious equaliser that dipped under Orestis Karnezis’s outstretched left hand, made it level. Briefly, tantalisingly, Chelsea dared to consider inducing another late Watford implosion but it would be the champions who unravelled. Janmaat, Deulofeu and the substitute Pereyra would each glide into space to drive home their advantage while the majority inside the arena pinched themselves in the giddiness of victory. “It’s difficult to explain how I feel at this moment,” said Gracia. “We needed the three points badly but for motivation and to believe in our possibilities, in our work, today was very important.”
Watford thoroughly deserved to win; a win that takes them six points clear of the relegation zone and halted the alarming run of results that led to the sacking of Marco Silva as head coach. This was Gracia’s first home game in charge and his January signing, fellow Spaniard Gerard Deulofeu, was outstanding in a rampant performance which Chelsea simply could not cope with.
The route home was slightly easier; Dad dropped me at St Albans, I made the train waiting at the platform, grabbed the only cab on the rank at Bedford, home at not-quite-silly’o’clock. And then lay in bed, staring upwards in the dark. For hours. Completely wired.