Kids get the keys to the sports car



Chelsea players celebrate with manager Antonio Conte. PICTURE: ACTION IMAGES

Tim Harrison

By Tim Harrison

The heavens opened before kick-off at the Bridge on Monday night, and it could only have been one thing. Tottenham tears.

Having clinched the league title at West Brom three days earlier, Chelsea ensured that what could have been a flat, listless evening was, in fact, as thrilling as recent weeks have been tense.

John Terry, wearing the captain’s armband and starting a game for the first time since September, scored the opener in an absurd seven-goal belter, leaving Watford, who fought like tigers, empty-handed.

A goal by sub Cesc Fabregas on 88 minutes proved the winner after the Hornets had hauled themselves back to 3-3, and at the final whistle fireworks were launched from the stadium roof… a foretaste of what is to come on Sunday, when relegated Sunderland visit and the trophy is presented.

Tony Conte shrewdly rested many of his first-teamers with the FA Cup final looming, giving the second strings a chance to audition to play in the full orchestra.

But key omissions such as Thibaut Courtois, Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses, Gary Cahill, David Luiz and Diego Costa only served to underline how much the first-choice team have gelled under Conte, and how reliant he has been on their collective talent.

To concede three goals at home would have been unthinkable earlier in 2017, yet it happened on Monday – with Watford’s first equaliser caused by a collector’s item, a JT error.

Sunderland will not be looking forward to their London outing, and Arsenal know they’ve got a match on their hands at Wembley.

Monday night's chaotic, unpredictable match felt like the kids had found the keys to the sports car. Conte now wants the keys back.

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