Like the saying goes: ‘desperate times call for desperate measures’. It was all or nothing for Conte and Chelsea in today’s early lunch time game against Watford. Two consecutive defeats in the league and a midweek bitter-sweet draw against Roma in the Champions League were unacceptable results going into the clash against the Hornets. The pressure was on Conte and Chelsea to change the dynamics of their game to get positive results.
On the other hand, Marco Silva’s Watford are exceeding expectations with the Portuguese carving them into a solid unit. He was succeeding where his predecessors, Quique Sanches-Flores and Walter Mazzari failed. Just like he did with Hull City, he has given Watford stability, brawn, brain, cohesion and identity. Watford have been excellent this season and moved to fourth place in the league table with a comeback win against Arsenal last weekend.
THE GAME AND THE GAME CHANGER:
The die was cast and the battle against Conte’s Chelsea vs Silva’s Watford, sarcastically fifth against fourth. More interesting was the battle of tactical wits in the game between two manager with tactical nous of the game. At the end Chelsea won 4-2. But in analysis, one defining moment of the game was Antonio Conte’s tactical switch in Chelsea’s formation. That was the game changer that decided the game in Chelsea’s favour. His tactical switch to a 4-4-1-1 was magnificent. With Cesar Azpilicueta moving from right wing-back to leftback and then Rudiger moving into right back from right central defence, Chelsea had two players with great defending abilities to curb Watford’s wide players. The midfield four of Willian on the right, Pedro on the left, Fabregas and Bakayoko in midfield, this covered the defence and crowded the space for Watford’s midfield to operate. The midfield could turn into a diamond and or a 4-2-4 with Hazard and Batshauyi (a replacement for Morata) to work the opposition. With four on four, Watford couldn’t find answers to Chelsea’s superior goal threat. Good tactical switch and game changed from Conte and just maybe that might have also saved his job and changed the minds of Chelsea’s power brokers, critics and doubters about him.
Let’s keep lifting the blue flag flying high. Cheers!