Chelsea 2-1 Watford: Ross Barkley comes off the bench to rescue a late win for Thomas Tuchel’s side over the already-relegated Hornets, ensuring a disappointing season for the Blues ends on a high
- Chelsea sealed a 2-1 victory over Watford to finish third in the Premier League
- Kai Havertz opened the scoring in just the 11th minute of Sunday’s final outing
- Dan Gosling equalised for the Hornets with three minutes of time remaining
- Ross Barkley, however, notched the eventual winner for the Blues in injury time
At the end of a long season which has given and taken so much, a day for greetings and goodbyes at Stamford Bridge. Some football, too.
First, the farewells, which began with 24 minutes still to play – there were a few to get through, in fairness – as supporters saluted Antonio Rudiger for the final time. He need not shut the door on his way out.
Watford manager Roy Hodgson and referee Mike Dean followed after nearly 1,500 games between them – Dean departed with a kiss blown towards someone in the crowd, of course he did.
Chelsea sealed a 2-1 victory over relegated Watford to finish third in the Premier League table
Chelsea forward Kai Havertz notched the opening goal of the game in the 11th minute
Chelsea (3-4-3): Mendy 7, Azpilicueta 6.5, Thiago Silva 7, Rudiger 6.5 (Barkley 66, 7.5), James 8, Saul Niguez 6.5, Kante 6.5, Kenedy 7 (Sarr 59, 6), Ziyech 6.5, Mount 7 (Chilwell 89, 6), Havertz 7.5
Unused subs: Kepa, Jorginho, Lukaku, Pulisic, Loftus-Cheek, Chalobah
Goals: Havertz 11, Barkley 90
Manager: Thomas Tuchel 7
Watford (4-3-3): Bachmann 6.5, Femenia 6.5, Kabasele 6, Samir 6.5, Kamara 6.5 (Masina 78, 6), Sissoko 6.5, Kayembe 7 (Gosling 82, 7), Cleverley 6, King 5 (Hernandez 72, 6.5), Joao Pedro 6.5, Sema 5
Unused subs: Elliot, Ngakia, Ekong, Cathcart, Sierralta, Baah
Goals: Gosling 87
Manager: Roy Hodgson 6.5
Referee: Mike Dean
Cesar Azpilicueta could be next. Who can guess where the departures might end for Chelsea?
‘It’s a bit strange, we will have a dinner later together and you don’t really know what’s going to happen – if we’re able to sell, do we want to sell?’ Thomas Tuchel said.
Old eras are giving way to new, but not everyone could say ta-ra. Andreas Christensen kept a low profile during Chelsea’s lap of appreciation. Roman Abramovich is, well, otherwise engaged. Instead, incoming owner Todd Boehly welcomed the players back on to the pitch.
After 19 major trophies in 19 years under Abramovich, this was a start. Following 63 games, sanctions, and two trophies, Chelsea signed off with a win in front of Boehly, and three points at home – recently, neither has come easily. ‘It’s a mood changer,’ Tuchel said.
Ross Barkley won it late, for those interested. A few minutes earlier, Chelsea’s supporters didn’t seem too bothered when Dan Gosling cancelled out Kai Havertz’s opener – they were too busy celebrating goals at the Etihad.
Tuchel and Co have earned a break. ‘Impossible. I cannot go on holiday,’ the German said. Not with a rebuild to lead. ‘It will feel more like a new era when things get started and the new season kicks in.’
After this miserable campaign, rebirth also beckons for Watford under Rob Edwards – another interested observer here. Hodgson suggested he would be wise not to be tempted back once more ‘when someone asks me to perform another rabbit out the hat trick.’
Only £100million a year might turn his head, he joked. ‘It hasn’t worked out but that doesn’t mean I look back with regret,’ the 74-year-old added.
Earlier Havertz converted a cross from Kenedy – making his first Premier League start for Chelsea since May 2017 – before Gosling headed home while Stamford Bridge taunted Steven Gerrard. Then Barkley provided a winner of their own to celebrate.
Watford midfielder Dan Gosling scored an equaliser in the 87th minute at Stamford Bridge
Ross Barkley scored the winner for Thomas Tuchel’s side in stoppage time on the final day
Thomas Tuchel’s (pictured) side sign off with a win in front of their new owner on the final day