The Hornets matched the European champions wit for wit for most of their midweek clash before the Blues edged the win late on
Nigerian forward Emmanuel Dennis scored his sixth Premier League of the season, but it did not help Watford avoid falling to a 1-2 defeat to Chelsea at the Vicarage Road on Wednesday evening.
Mason Mount put the Blues ahead with half an hour on the clock after a delightful team move that saw Alonso dispossess Dennis, race forward to meet Rudiger’s pass, square for Havertz, who then squared for Mount to apply the decisive finish.
It was a blow to Dennis, who had been lively in the opening stages. The Nigerian forward’s trickery had drawn Niguel Saul into picking up the game’s first yellow card within the first 15 minutes of the encounter.
To his credit, he did not let that setback weigh him down, and it was only fair that he pulled Watford back on levelled terms shortly before the halftime break.
The Hornets pushed forward on the break and had Chelsea’s defenders outnumbered. Dennis sprinted down the right flank with the ball, got the better of Rudiger before he passed a low shot into the net, straight past Mendy and into the corner.
That brilliantly taken goal was Dennis’ sixth goal in only his debut campaign in the English Premier League, and his eleventh goal contribution (including five assists) in just 13 appearances for the Hornets.
The 24-year-old shows that he thrives in the big games, as he has now hit the target consecutively against Manchester United, Leicester City, and Chelsea in the last eleven days.
Dennis thus becomes the first Watford player to score in three Premier League games in a row since Hornets’ fans favourite Troy Deeney almost five years ago.
3 – Emmanuel Dennis is the first Watford player to score in three Premier League matches in a row since Troy Deeney in February 2017. Menace. pic.twitter.com/Vo1g4hroNX— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 1, 2021
A Watford victory would have made manager Claudio Ranieri the first ex-Chelsea manager to beat the Blues with two different clubs in the competition, having already done so in December 2015 during Leicester City’s title-winning campaign.
But the European champions were not in the mood to hand out gifts, and Moroccan star Ziyech strolled to stroke home the winner in the 72nd minute, leaving the home side with no point for all their troubles.