Chelsea 2-1 Watford: Three lessons learnt on matchday 38

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 22: Antonio Ruediger of Chelsea waves to the Chelsea supporters after the Premier League match between Chelsea and Watford at Stamford Bridge on May 22, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 22: Antonio Ruediger of Chelsea waves to the Chelsea supporters after the Premier League match between Chelsea and Watford at Stamford Bridge on May 22, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images) /

It was an anticlimactic match on the final day for Chelsea with nothing to play for aside from pride. There was no real incentive to win, other than the Blues not wanting to end the season with a loss, and they put on a decent display in front of the home crowd. The attack was fluent, the midfield was organized and the defense was solid in a relatively dull 2-1 win over Watford.

Here are three lessons we learnt in the contest:

1. The attack needs creative support

Chelsea was more fluent than usual and that was due to creative support. The line-up had a surprise in it with Kenedy at left wingback. While having him in the starting XI was less than ideal, he performed well in a more free-flowing and creative hybrid role. The Brazilian gave the Blues the ability to have a versatile and proactive approach going forward against the Hornets, who were seemingly content with sitting back and hoping for a counterattacking opportunity.

Kai Havertz and Mason Mount acting as the focal points of the attack, Kenedy often provided support with his passing and skills. Since the front three interchanged positions often with fluidity, the Brazilian’s efforts did not go to waste. Runs in behind the defense, short passes into the box and low crosses were all a part of the forgotten former loanee’s arsenal against his old club. All of this, along with speed and creativity, gave Chelsea a real positive spark going forward.

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Now, by no means is Kenedy the answer to the Blues problems in Ben Chillwell’s absence, which won’t be a long period either considering he made a surprise late-game cameo against Watford. Nevertheless, Chelsea needs someone that is not afraid to support the attack in the same deliberate manner. While the club had that with Marcos Alonso, that is not likely to be the case going forward as the Spaniard is set the leave the club in the summer. Therefore, the Blues should target a player that can be that creative support and lifeline from a deeper position on the pitch. Whether this is an experienced player or a young talent that can be molded, there is a need for this style of play in the left side of the field.

2. Antonio Rudiger will be missed

It will be difficult to replace Antonio Rudiger following his last game in a Chelsea shirt. He showed us exactly why against Watford. As expected, the German international played his final match in Chelsea blue with the same intensity as always, and as usual, he was brilliant. Rudiger pulled out all the tricks for this one; the strength to hold attackers and dispossess them, the speed to track opposition players on and off the ball, the stamina to chase down long passes and the ability to send long balls into the opposition’s box.

Finding another player like Rudiger will be difficult. Not many defenders in the world can do what he does day in and day out. Moreover, his partnership with Thiago Silva was impeccable. Both complimented each other and they had a great understanding for each other’s style of play. Silva was more central, calm and collected. Rudiger was more erratic and provided speed along with strength. This dynamic was crucial for the Blues throughout this difficult season. It goes without saying, Rudiger will be missed at Chelsea. One can only hope the Blues can find a suitable replacement in the summer transfer window.

3. Kai Havertz and Mason Mount are the future

Against Watford, the aforementioned pairing of Havertz and Mount was the main threat in attack. After a long and difficult season, both players adapted to new roles throughout the 63-game stretch, and fit in quite well. Along with that, they have formed a partnership in attack based on understanding and knowledge of the other’s game. They seemingly always know each other’s movement and they bring out the best in each other, which makes the duo difficult to mark.

Regardless of next season’s tactics, Havertz and Mount need to play together on a regular basis. Thomas Tuchel may choose to stick with Romelu Lukaku as the team’s main striker. If that is the case, Havertz and Mount need to be the support players in behind the Belgian. Their partnership has become dangerous, and any defense will have difficulties stopping them when they’re on their games. More importantly, they can both score goals, something the Blues need more of in the grand scheme of things. If they’re able to find the perfect fit for a third attacker, Chelsea will be a force to be reckoned with in attack. Both Havertz and Mount are still so young, but with so much potential, they are the future in attack.

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What are some of the lessons you learnt in the match? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter!