A painfully bad first-half was followed by a slightly less painful second-half as Chelsea notched an important victory
in the penultimate match of the 2018-19 Premier League season.
Watford seemed to have the edge in effort, motivation, and aggression all game — aided to no small extent by the
referee, as it often is — but Chelsea made two set pieces in quick succession count early in the second-half, and that
was enough to make the telling difference.
Eden Hazard, possibly in his last home Premier League game, picked up both assists, on the short corner routine
from which Loftus-Cheek scored (beating his old buddy Nathaniel Chalobah in the air), and on the more
conventional corner from which David Luiz scored.
Higuaín, on the end of the latest of his typical short runs inside the area, added a third with 15 minutes to go, which
made sure of the points.
MANCHESTER FAILS TO QUALIFY
This was another embarrassment for Manchester United in an embarrassment of riches of a season. At a team with
nine home league goals, they conceded not just an equaliser but more points as their risible challenge for
Champions League qualification ended.
Huddersfield were relegated on March 30, yet their grateful fans chirped ‘You’re f*****g s**t’ and it was difficult for
the United away-dayers to dispute their opinion. “You’re going down,” United supporters replied. They have had to
stoop to the level of heckling Championship fodder.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sat motionless and powerless for much of the last 30 minutes. On the rare occasion he stood,
his hands were stuffed in his pockets, dumbstruck and and deflated. It appears he has given up on some of these
Luke Shaw, regarded as a frontrunner for the player of the year award, did not play like he is about to take the Sir
Matt Busby statue home with him from Old Trafford on Thursday. Shaw’s failure to intercept a goal kick was seized
upon by Isaac Mbenza to slot through the porous David de Gea’s legs. “Embarrassing,” Gary Neville lamented.