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Late Barkley header earns Chelsea win over Watford

Published on: 22 May 2022

Ross Barkley scored his first goal of the season in second-half added time to earn Chelsea a last-gasp victory

Ross Barkley's late header ensured Chelsea finished the campaign with a narrow victory against relegated Watford at Stamford Bridge.

Barkley nodded Reece James' cross past Hornets goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann to earn the Blues all three points - four minutes after Dan Gosling had grabbed a late equaliser for the Hornets.

Kai Havertz converted a low cross from Kenedy - who was making his first Premier League start for the club since May 2017 - to give the Blues the lead early in the first half.

Gosling's header from Adam Masina's delivery appeared to have earned Watford a share of the spoils, but Barkley scored with virtually the last moment of action to deny Roy Hodgson's team.

Antonio Rudiger, making his final appearance for the hosts, was given a warm ovation by Chelsea supporters when he was replaced by Barkley midway through the second half.

The Hornets end the season in 19th place after bottom club Norwich's 5-0 defeat at home to Tottenham Hotspur

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Big summer ahead for Chelsea

Having secured third place courtesy of Thursday's 1-1 draw at home to Leicester, Tuchel made five changes to his starting line-up against the Hornets, handing Kenedy a long-awaited Premier League return for the club and Saul Niguez his first top-flight start since March.

Ben Chilwell was also on the Chelsea bench for the first time since rupturing his cruciate knee ligament in November.

Kenedy, who played just 15 minutes for the Hornets during a loan spell in 2016-17, was particularly lively early on and set up Havertz's opener with a marvellous low cross into the Germany's forward path.

Mason Mount, Chelsea's top Premier League scorer this season with 11, forced a fine save out of Watford goalkeeper Bachmann as Tuchel's side pushed for a second, before Havertz rattled the crossbar from another Kenedy pass.

Chelsea had Mendy to thank for preserving their slender lead at the beginning of the second half, but there was nothing the Senegal keeper could do to prevent Gosling from nodding Watford level in the final minute of normal time.

There was still time for one final twist however, as Barkley headed in his first goal of the 2021-22 campaign to lift the mood inside Stamford Bridge.

US billionaire Todd Boehly, who is expected to complete his £4.25bn takeover of the Blues later this month, was in attendance to see the club record only their ninth home league win of the season.

With Rudiger and Andreas Christensen set to leave in the summer and Spain internationals Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso linked with Barcelona, Tuchel is expecting "open and honest" conversations with prospective new owner Boehly before a big summer for the club.

Farewell... but not goodbye?

Former England manager Hodgson will have enjoyed his team's second-half showing at Stamford Bridge but it was not enough to earn the Hornets a hard-earned point in front of his successor Rob Edwards.

Edwards will assume the Vicarage Road hot-seat this summer after leading Forest Green Rovers to the League Two title.

Hodgson, 74, announced earlier this month that he was planning to retire after leaving Watford - although he stopped short of ruling out a return to management in the future.

When he left Crystal Palace at the end of last season, Hodgson said the "time was right" to step away from the rigours of top-flight football - only to be appointed as Claudio Ranieri's replacement at Vicarage Road in January.

He was unable to lead the Hertfordshire club to safety, collecting just nine points from his 18 league games in charge as the Hornets were relegated.

One man whose Premier League career is definitely at an end is referee Mike Dean, who took charge of his 560th and final top-flight game on Sunday.

Player of the match

MountMason Mount

with an average of 8.34

    ChelseaChelseaChelseaWatfordWatfordWatford

ChelseaAvgSquad number19Player nameMountAverage rating

8.34

Squad number29Player nameHavertzAverage rating

8.32

Squad number21Player nameChilwellAverage rating

8.17

Squad number7Player nameKantéAverage rating

8.11

Squad number24Player nameJamesAverage rating

8.10

Squad number6Player nameThiago SilvaAverage rating

8.09

Squad number18Player nameBarkleyAverage rating

8.08

Squad number22Player nameZiyechAverage rating

7.74

Squad number2Player nameRüdigerAverage rating

7.67

Squad number16Player nameMendyAverage rating

7.54

Squad number23Player nameKenedyAverage rating

7.44

Squad number28Player nameAzpilicuetaAverage rating

7.37

Squad number17Player nameSaúlAverage rating

7.28

Squad number31Player nameSarrAverage rating

6.88

WatfordAvgSquad number16Player nameGoslingAverage rating

5.52

Squad number29Player nameCucho HernándezAverage rating

4.76

Squad number10Player nameJoão PedroAverage rating

4.74

Squad number11Player nameMasinaAverage rating

4.71

Squad number19Player nameSissokoAverage rating

4.32

Squad number14Player nameKamaraAverage rating

4.31

Squad number26Player nameBachmannAverage rating

4.30

Squad number7Player nameKingAverage rating

4.17

Squad number27Player nameKabaseleAverage rating

4.14

Squad number12Player nameSemaAverage rating

4.13

Squad number22Player nameSamirAverage rating

4.09

Squad number8Player nameCleverleyAverage rating

4.07

Squad number39Player nameKayembeAverage rating

3.95

Squad number21Player nameKiko FemeníaAverage rating

3.91

    Line-upsMatch StatsLive Text

Line-upsChelsea

Formation 3-4-2-1

16Mendy28Azpilicueta6Thiago Silva2Rüdiger24James7Kanté17Saúl23Kenedy22Ziyech19Mount29Havertz

    16Mendy28Azpilicueta6Thiago Silva2RüdigerSubstituted forBarkleyat 66'minutes24James7Kanté17Saúl23KenedySubstituted forSarrat 59'minutes22Ziyech19MountSubstituted forChilwellat 89'minutes29Havertz

Substitutes

    1Arrizabalaga5Jorginho9Lukaku10Pulisic12Loftus-Cheek14Chalobah18Barkley21Chilwell31Sarr

Watford

Formation 4-3-3

26Bachmann21Femenía27Kabasele22Samir14Kamara19Sissoko39Kayembe8Cleverley7King10João Pedro12Sema

    26Bachmann21Femenía27Kabasele22Samir14KamaraSubstituted forMasinaat 78'minutes19Sissoko39KayembeSubstituted forGoslingat 82'minutes8Cleverley7KingSubstituted forHernándezat 72'minutes10João Pedro12Sema

Substitutes

    2Ngakia5Troost-Ekong11Masina15Cathcart16Gosling29Hernández31Sierralta34Baah35Elliot

Referee:Mike DeanAttendance:32,089Match StatsHome TeamChelseaAway TeamWatfordPossessionHome72%Away28%ShotsHome19Away8Shots on TargetHome8Away3CornersHome3Away3FoulsHome8Away9Live TextPost update

Match ends, Chelsea 2, Watford 1.

90'+4'Full Time

Second Half ends, Chelsea 2, Watford 1.

90'+3'Post update

Attempt saved. Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Malang Sarr with a cross.

90'+2'Post update

Foul by Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea).

90'+2'Post update

Tom Cleverley (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90'+1'goalGoal!

Goal! Chelsea 2, Watford 1. Ross Barkley (Chelsea) header from very close range to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Reece James.

89'Substitution

Substitution, Chelsea. Ben Chilwell replaces Mason Mount.

89'Post update

Reece James (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the right wing.

89'Post update

Foul by Moussa Sissoko (Watford).

87'goalGoal!

Goal! Chelsea 1, Watford 1. Dan Gosling (Watford) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Adam Masina with a cross.

86'Post update

Offside, Watford. Kiko Femenía tries a through ball, but Cucho Hernández is caught offside.

86'Post update

Foul by Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea).

86'Post update

Samir (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

85'Post update

Ross Barkley (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

85'Post update

Foul by Tom Cleverley (Watford).

83'Post update

Attempt missed. Kai Havertz (Chelsea) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Ross Barkley.

82'Post update

Foul by Mason Mount (Chelsea).

82'Post update

Moussa Sissoko (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

82'Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Dan Gosling replaces Edo Kayembe.

81'Post update

Attempt saved. Ross Barkley (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by N'Golo Kanté.

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