Manchester United endured a frustrating Sunday afternoon before Christmas as Watford claimed a surprise 2-0 victory at Vicarage Road.
Despite dominating possession throughout the 90 minutes, the Reds were up against a resolute Hornets side who struck twice early on in the second half. Ismaila Sarr’s effort and Troy Deeney’s penalty were enough to give Nigel Pearson’s team the points on his home debut as manager.
United’s first chance of the afternoon came in the sixth minute as Anthony Martial hit a low effort narrowly wide of Ben Foster’s right-hand post. The Frenchman’s strike from just inside the area came after receiving a return pass from Daniel James following his own delightful flick out wide to the rapidly advancing winger.
The Hornets had the ball in the back of the net on 19 minutes, again having won a corner, but the whistle had gone well before any shot after Craig Cathcart knocked the ball out of David De Gea’s hands.
Five minutes into the second period and the home side found themselves in front when De Gea could only push Sarr’s shot onto the post, which then dropped into the net off the woodwork.
Scott McTominay looked to level immediately after with a headed chance, but Foster got behind his effort to save. Back at the other end Watford were then given a spot-kick when Sarr went down under the challenge of Aaron Wan-Bissaka as he looked to drive into the area. Following a VAR check the decision stood to leave Deeney to step up and double the Hornets’ lead by drilling the ball down the middle of the goal.
The Blues returned to Premier League winning ways in one of the best ways possible, with victory and a superb performance on their first visit to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The previous Chelsea away win against Spurs was in August 2017 when they played their first game with Wembley as their home ground. On that occasion two Marcos Alonso goals won the day and it was another brace which made the difference in 2019, Willian the hero with his fourth and fifth goals of the season.
Alonso was involved again when fouled for the penalty which gave Willian his second goal today. His first had been a fantastic open-play strike early in the game with the second coming on the stroke of half-time.