On Matchday 9 of the English Premier League season, Chelsea mounted a roaring comeback to defeat upstarts Watford, while Manchester United doubled its goals allowed total for the season in an upset loss to Huddersfield Town.
Man U can't handle Huddersfield
Manchester United had only allowed two goals in the Premier League all season heading into Saturday's contest at Huddersfield Town, and it had yet to suffer a loss. But two stunning goals in the first 35 minutes at Kirklees Stadium helped Huddersfield claim the first victory over the Red Devils this season, 2-1. It's the first time Huddersfield has beaten United in 65 years.
The Terriers' first rapturous moment of the day came just ahead of the half-hour mark. Tom Ince burst forward on a counter and attempted to juke and deke past substitute defender Victor Lindelof -- who came on in relief of the injured Phil Jones -- and Juan Mata, but had his attempt saved by David De Gea. Aaron Mooy was in the perfect spot to make a move on the round, though. Mooy took a step forward and dinked a shot to left of De Gea to give Huddersfield a shocking 1-0 lead.
The ecstasy didn't end there. Five minutes later, Laurent Depoitre doubled Huddersfield's lead and United's goals allowed total for the season thanks to a defensive lapse from the Red Devils. Keeper Jonas Lossl blasted a kick into United territory. Lindelof had an opportunity to intercept with a header, but he mistimed his jump. That also put him a step behind Depoitre, who collected the ball as De Gea charged his way. A simple side step steered him clear of the keeper and a clean finish was all that was needed to take the 2-0 lead.
Aside from those two defensive lapses, United played fairly well in defense on Saturday. The reason it was out of the match for most of the afternoon was a lack of offensive chances. The Red Devils failed to create one through the first 70 or so minutes of the match. But just two chances yielded a goal, and brought United back within striking distance.
In the 78th minute, Romelu Lukaku delivered a cross from the left flank that was placed perfectly for Marcus Rashford. The young English attacker rose to meet Lukaku's pass and headed home to score his seventh goal of the season in all competitions and shrink the Huddersfield lead to 2-1.
From there, you had to think United to come away with at least a draw. Almost half of all of United's Premier League goals this season have come in the final 10 minutes of the match. It also hasn't allowed a team to concede in the final 10 minutes of a match this season. And while United did create a few more chances in the final minutes, it was clear how desperately Huddersfield wanted the three points. As United mounted its final chances, Terriers put their bodies on the line, diving in front of shots and keeping the score at 2-1 to secure a signature win in the club's first Premier League campaign.
Between this loss and a 3-0 win by Manchester City over Burnley, United has lost ground at the top of the Premier League table. The Red Devils now sit second in the league, five points behind City.
Chelsea charges back to beat Watford
Chelsea and Watford came into Saturday's contest at Stamford Bridge off very different English Premier League results. The Blues fell to Crystal Palace in a 2-1 upset last weekend, while the Hornets handed the same 2-1 upset special to Arsenal. The two were on track to face similar fates when they met at the Bridge, as Watford held a lead over the reigning champs for most of the second half. But a brace from substitute Michy Batshuayi and a late-winner from Cesar Azpilicueta proved the difference, and Chelsea emerged with a 4-2 comeback victory.
The Blues got out to a fast start with a sensational goal from Pedro in the 11th minute. After the referee wrongly awarded them a corner, Eden Hazard received a short pass, then laid it off to Pedro on the edge of the box. The Spaniard whipped in a shot first time that curled over Heurelho Gomes and smashed off the post then into goal for the 1-0 lead and his third goal in all competitions.
Despite the early deficit, Watford settled into the game and was ready to hit back by the end of the half. In the second minute of first-half stoppage time, David Luiz was able to get a header onto a long throw into the Chelsea box, but he only managed to knock it down for Abdoulaye Doucoure, who powered his shot past Thibaut Courtois at the near-post and leveled the score. It was Doucoure's fourth Premier League goal of the season.
The Hornets picked up right where they left off on the other side of the half and came at the Blues full throttle. They had chances to score three goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half, but Roberto Pereya got the only goal. He waltzed into the Chelsea box unmarked and buried a square pass from Richarlison for the 2-1 lead.
Watford will rue those missed chances, because the match changed completely when Batshuayi came onto the pitch for Alvaro Morata in the 61st. Ten minutes after his introduction, the Belgian marksman made a fantastic run across the box to meet a cross and nodded a header past Gomes to equalize at 2-2.
Chelsea once again struck from the right flank to get the winner. In the 87th minute, Willian swung in a cross that didn't reach any teammates, but did find Watford defender Christian Kabasele, who flicked it on to the back post. Unfortunately for Kabasele and Watford, the only other Hornet in the area was boxed out by a pair of Chelsea attacker, one of whom, Azpilicueta, pounced and headed home the miscue for the match-winner.
Chelsea was safe with the 3-2 lead, but Batshuayi erased all doubt with another goal to secure his brace in stoppage time. He now has six goals in his last nine Premier League appearances after netting just two in 17 before that. While primarily being used as a sub, Batshuayi has scored a goal every 71.3 minutes this season. At this point, it's safe to say Batshuayi is the best 12th man in the Premier League.
"Starting on the bench is a difficult moment for me but I stay focused every day to work hard and train hard. Today I did my job and scored two goals," Batshuayi said after the match, according to the BBC. "I'm very happy to take the three points in a difficult moment for the team."
Other Premier League results
Manchester City 3-0 Burnley
Swansea City 1-2 Leicester City
Newcastle 1-0 Crystal Palace
Stoke City 1-2 Bournemouth
Cy Brown writes about football, golf, soccer and other stuff for Sports on Earth. Follow him on Twitter @CEPBrown.