Chelsea had to struggle to beat the poorly ranked Watford (2-1) and save their place as leader from the clutches of Manchester City and Liverpool, winners at Aston Villa (1-2) and Everton (1-4) on Wednesday for the 14th Premier League day.
Hanging Sunday by Manchester United (1-1), the Blues can thank Hakim Ziyech, entered on time and decisive scorer twelve minutes later for this success torn from a Watford very well prepared by Claudio Ranieri.
These three points allow the Londoners, who have 33, to stay one step ahead of City and two over the Reds who do not give up in this title race increasingly limited to the first three: the 4th, West Ham is relegated to 7 lengths of Liverpool.
Premier League fixtures and results
Premier League standings
The match was marked by the heart attack of a supporter in the stands which resulted in an interruption of nearly 35 minutes during the first period, fortunately without dramatic consequences for the victim. After touching the post in the 19th, Mason Mount had put Chelsea in the lead at the conclusion of a great collective action passed by Antonio Rüdiger, Marcos Alonso and Kaï Havertz (1-0, 29th). But the Hornets did not give up and after a beautiful parade by Edouard Mendy (35th) on a strike from Danny Rose, it was Emmanuel Dennis, well launched by Moussa Sissoko, who equalized (1-1, 43rd ). In the second half, Chelsea never really managed to ensure full control of the proceedings, the locals delivering a generous game despite their 17th place, but Ziyech, receiving a cross from Mount,very moving for his return to the starting lineup, made sporting logic prevail (2-1, 72nd).
Manchester City without qualms at Villa
With coolness and confidence, and without much regard for Jack Grealish, their € 118 million rookie who was only entitled to five minutes of play for his return to his training club, Manchester City has chained a sixth rank success, all competitions. The victory took shape in a first arch-dominated act, Ruben Dias opening the scoring with a wrapped and well-placed strike, from the entrance to the surface, which deceived Emiliano Martinez hidden from the ball (1-0 , 27th). The second goal, sublime, was the work of Bernardo Silva who volleyed a perfect cross from Gabriel Jesus on a fast counter (2-0, 43rd), and therefore drove home the point. The Villans, who had won their first two meetings under Steven Gerrard, restarted the game at the start of the second half:a recovery of Ollie Watkins from a corner and the first goal conceded by City from a set piece this season (2-1, 47th). But in vain.
Merciless Liverpool with Everton and Benitez
Liverpool grabbed an easy win in the derby at Everton, putting great pressure on their increasingly contested former coach Rafael Benitez at the Toffees.
A goal from Demarai Garay at the end of the first period briefly gave hope for a disputed match (2-1, 38th) but, with two shots on target in just 90 minutes, Everton never seemed able to thwarting the Reds in superb form.
Mohamed Salah, author of a double, was still magnificent, despite his 7th place only in the Ballon d'Or.
He first wrapped the ball around a not very well placed Jordan Pickford (2-0, 19th), then he stung a ball in the feet of Seamus Coleman, near the center line, and put it out range from the English international goalkeeper to breathe new life into his family (3-1, 64th).
It was Jordan Henderson who opened the scoring with a nice strike from the inside of the left, after a very good collective action (1-0, 9th).
At the end of the match, Diogo Jota, with a powerful strike under the bar despite a tight angle, concluded the evening (4-1, 79th) and proved that the leading trio, at the top of the English ranking, was very high stolen this season.