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Friday 23 February 2018

Four-midable Hornets sting poor Blues

Watford 4 Chelsea 1

Watford's Gerard Deulofeu
Watford's Gerard Deulofeu

Antonio Conte's future as Chelsea boss was cast into further doubt as his 10-men were thrashed by Watford last night.

The Blues lost heavily at home to Bournemouth last week and were poor again at Vicarage Road, Tiemoué Bakayoko epitomising their evening as he was sent off inside half an hour following a turgid performance.

Troy Deeney scored a penalty in the closing stages of the first half, but Chelsea stayed in the contest and equalised through a magnificent Eden Hazard goal.

The status quo would not remain for long, however, as Daryl Janmaat scored his own memorable effort to put the hosts back in front before Gerard Deulofeu, man of the match on his home debut, added a third before substitute Roberto Pereyra rounded off the win with a breakaway goal to secure an emphatic 4-1 win.

Conte had called on Chelsea's hierarchy to "prepare a statement…to say they trust me in my work" ahead of the game but it was another dismal evening for the defending champions, who are now 19 points adrift of leaders Manchester City.

Michy Batshuayi and Diego Costa scored the goals in a 2-1 win for Chelsea here last season. That was the second game of a campaign which would ultimately end in Premier League glory for the Blues but, like those goalscorers last August, Chelsea's hopes of retaining their crown are gone.

Conte once again deployed Eden Hazard as Chelsea's main attacking option with new signing Olivier Giroud warming the bench.

Bakayoko was enduring another dismal display in a Chelsea shirt and was booked for bringing down Etienne Capoue inside the Chelsea half.

The challenge became harder for Conte and his players when Bakayoko's evening came to an abrupt end as a second yellow card for a crude foul on Richarlison saw him dismissed by Mike Dean. But it was only the beginning of a miserable night for Chelsea.

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