Stinging the Hornets

It’s often said attack is the best form of defence, which is one piece of advice taken on board by these Blues defenders in games against Watford over the years.

We visit Vicarage Road this Boxing Day looking to keep up our impressive record against the Hornets, which has seen us win six of our 10 Premier League meetings against them.

Matches between the two sides have typically been few and far between, however, with only 33 played in our 113-year history – and we’ve had some unlikely goalscorers in a few of those, thanks to defenders chipping in with contributions at the other end of the pitch.

The definition of a cult hero, big Doug Rougvie is remembered by Chelsea fans for his crunching challenges, tussling with John Fashanu and, most famously, conceding a penalty which denied Chelsea one of the greatest comebacks of all time in a famous League Cup thriller against Sheffield Wednesday in the Eighties.

What he was not known for was his scoring prowess, with just three netted for the Blues in 100 appearances, including a consolation effort in a 3-1 defeat to the Hornets in 1985, which he stuck past former Chelsea keeper Steve Sherwood.

Australian-born left-back Tony Dorigo, on the other hand, chipped in with his fair share of goals, scoring 12 in 180 appearances for the Blues including a fabulous free-kick in the 1990 Full Members Cup final.

This effort against Watford during our promotion-winning campaign in 1988/89 helped us draw after trailing 2-0, and the strike could be firmly classed in the “Zappacosta” category after our full-back’s goal against Qarabag last season to open his Chelsea account.

As someone who once netted in a Champions League final – and a 4-0 win over Barcelona at that – it’s safe to say a second-minute goal against Watford doesn’t live long in Marcel Desailly’s memory. This was the second of seven the defender nicknamed the Rock would score in his six seasons at the Bridge, a textbook near-post header from a Gianfranco Zola free-kick to put us in front.

After coming up through the ranks at Chelsea, Jon Harley scored his first Blues goal with a bullet header in the same game as Desailly’s effort above, giving us a 2-1 win over Watford in February 2000. The left-back won the FA Cup later that year as an unused sub at Wembley and he also went on to enjoy a two-year spell as a Hornet in 2008. He now works alongside Andy Myers coaching our Under-18s.

While the quality of Cesar Azpilicueta’s defending is up there with the best in the world, he doesn’t find himself with too many opportunities to get himself on the scoresheet. As far as the Premier League is concerned, he reserves his goals for teams beginning with the letter W, netting twice against West Brom before adding Watford to the list with a superb strike from the edge of the box in the penultimate game of our title-winning season of 2016/17.

Just for good measure, Azpi followed it up with a goal in our next match against the Hornets at Stamford Bridge, and then later that season he added West Ham to his collection to continue his unique goalscoring run.