Tiemoue Bakayoko was sent off after just 30 minutes of Chelsea’s 4-1 defeat to Watford at Vicarage Road on Monday Night Football as pressure builds on Antonio Conte. Was the midfielder’s brief display the worst performance of the season so far?
Jamie Carragher was certainly not impressed with what he saw from the France international. “It feels like they have targeted Bakayoko,” he told Sky Sports. “He has been so poor. That first 30 minutes is one of the worst performances you will see from a player this season.”
Both yellow cards Bakayoko received from referee Mike Dean were soft but what was just as troubling for Chelsea fans who have been left underwhelmed by the midfielder’s efforts all season was that he lost the ball before committing each of the two fouls.
“He must have lost the ball eight or nine times in that half,” said Carragher. In fact, it was ‘only’ seven times in the opening 30 minutes – the most of any player on the pitch during that time – as Bakayoko struggled to cope with Watford’s pressing game.
He misplaced four simple passes during his brief outing with one of them almost proving costly. The 23-year-old gave the ball away inside his own half and had to rely on Cesar Azpilicueta blocking Richarlison’s effort to prevent Watford opening the scoring.
Bakayoko received his first booking moments later, falling into his opponent after being unable to bring the ball under control under pressure. By the time that Dean brandished the second yellow soon after, it almost appeared as if he was putting him out of his misery.
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February 12, 2018, 7:00pm
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A £40m signing from Monaco in the summer, Bakayoko has been given the responsibility of replacing Nemanja Matic this season. But there is little sign just yet that he is the man to fill that void. After a difficult start, his role in Chelsea’s defeat to Watford was a new low.