EPL: Heurelho Gomes turns hero as Chelsea held to 0-0 draw by Watford, Everton beat Newcastle 3-0
Chelsea and Watford played out a goalless draw at Vicarage Road on Wednesday night. Hornets goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes was undoubtedly the star of the night as he denied the Blues four clear cut chances to score in the second half. The result leaves Chelsea in the bottom half of the table while Watford climbed to ninth.
Watford: Heurelho Gomes, Juan Carlos Paredes, Sebastian Prodl, Craig Cathcart, Jose Holebas, Valon Behrami, Ben Watson, Etienne Capoue, Jose Manuel Jurado, Troy Deeney, Odion Ighalo
Chelsea: Thibaut Courtois, Branislav Ivanovic, Kurt Zouma, John Terry, Cesar Azpilicueta, John Obi Mikel, Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas, Willian, Oscar, Diego Costa
First Half: Watford dominate as Chelsea fail to get shot on target
In spite of finally getting a goal in the previous game, an FA Cup win over MK Dons, Eden Hazard started on the bench for this fixture with Guus Hiddink opting to go with Willian, Fabregas and Oscar behind Diego Costa. Matic and Mikel were paired in the base of midfield – a defensive move to possibly help the defence negate the threat of Watford strikers Deeney and Ighalo.
And trouble the defence they did in the first half as Deeney and Ighalo combined well to cause problems. In the first 10 minutes, Deeney managed to find Ighalo twice inside the box. At the other end, the wily Diego Costa was involved in an altercation with Prodl, even conceding a foul in Watford’s box. However, Prodl himself would be the first to go into the book after a foul on Oscar on the left flank.
The home side were clearly getting into the groove and mounted attack after attack in the hope of beating Courtois. By the half hour mark, Watford had 7 shots on goal while the Blues had only 1.
Chelsea had a great chance in the 32nd minute when Fabregas played a trademark long ball towards Costa but his strike took a deflection before going out for a corner kick. Soon after, Holebas had a penalty appeal turned down by referee Mike Dean when he went down inside the box while battling with Branislav Ivanovic.
Frustrated with the close man-marking, Costa got into another altercation, this time with Paredes. Both players were eventually booked by Dean as the first half ended goalless.
Second Half: Gomes denies Chelsea three points
Chelsea started the second half brightly when Fabregas released Oscar whose shot was blocked by Gomes. Mikel also had a chance on the follow-up but his shot was also blocked and tipped over by Gomes for a corner kick.
Capoue then tried to get Holebas into the action with a neat pass but his shot was from a very acute angle and only hit the side-netting much to the frustration of Quique Sanchez Flores.
Less than 10 minutes into the second half, Oscar had the perfect chance to put the Blues 1-0 up when Costa’s cut-back found him inside the box but his shot was wide of the target after he was pressurised by the Hornets’ defence.
It was only on the hour mark when the Blues finally got their first shot on target. After Capoue had cleared Willian’s cross, Matic managed to take a shot on goal but it was straight at Gomes who initially fumbled because of the awkward bounce but managed to hold on to it in the end.
Oscar then put on his dancing shoes and managed to evade two defenders before firing in a shot that troubled Gomes but the Brazilian goalkeeper managed to parry it away. With 20 minutes left, Hiddink smelled three points and brought on Hazard for Matic.
Gomes then denied Chelsea many times in the final stages. First, Hazard and Willian combined well before setting up Ivanovic whose shot was headed to the bottom corner before Gomes made the save. Hazard then had the chance to net one himself but his first touch from a Willian pass let him down and Gomes rushed out to grab the ball.
Willian then found Costa inside the box with a cross but his header was saved yet again by Gomes who was playing one of the best games of his life. Three minutes of added time did not see any major action as the Hornets and the Blues went home with a point apiece.
Everton 3-0 Newcastle United [Lennon, Barkley x2 (P)]