Watford arrived in west London on Saturday lunchtime in confident mood of adding to the champions’ misery at a nervy Stamford Bridge. But any lingering fears were quickly extinguished as Chelsea’s Spanish magician stepped up to the fore.
Pedro, perhaps, doesn’t get the acclaim he deserves especially as he is often left in the shadows of the Blues’ other star names.
But with Eden Hazard seemingly struggling for form in the early part of the season, the former Barcelona winger was magnificent in driving Chelsea forward onto a vital three points.
His opening goal was outstanding. A terrific swirling effort into the top right-hand corner settled the champions down and gave Antonio Conte the perfect confidence-booster after such a tumultuous run.
But the Spain international wasn’t done there. A superb cross picked out substitute Michy Batshuayi to nod home and set up Chelsea’s late fightback, after Watford had threatened to spoil the party.
It’s little wonder then that Pedro has been directly involved in more goals (21) for Chelsea in all competitions in 2017 than any other player – 12 goals and nine assists. His value to the champions is undeniable.
Pedro’s all-round game has certainly improved under the guidance of Conte, given he has notched three times already this season and remains one of the Blues’ most creative influencers.
A World Cup winner, a European Championship victor and a man who has lifted the Champions League trophy three times, it’s easy to see why Chelsea spent £21million to sign Pedro from Barcelona in the summer of 2015.
Those honours alone put the Spain international alongside some of the greatest players to have played the game and that habitual success is beginning to rub off on his Chelsea team-mates.
During last season’s run to the Premier League title, Pedro was sensational in the most demanding of circumstances, with fellow Spain international Diego Costa threatening to destabilise their push for glory.
As Conte struggled to tame the petulant Costa once rumours of a potential move to China had surfaced, the Italian needed to count upon Pedro to keep their title aspirations on track.
Pedro is one player Conte can count upon and Saturday’s excellent all-round display against Watford will prove invaluable as Chelsea look to overcome their early season stutters.
“It was a very good win and these three points are very important for us to move up the table,” Pedro explained. “I am so happy for everyone – all my team-mates – and the most important thing was the three points.
“Every game is difficult, but Watford played very well and they are a very strong team. They produced a good performance and have some very good players.”
The morale-boosting victory sets the Blues up for another vital week of fixtures in all competitions.
Their excruciating run begins with a Carabao Cup clash with Everton at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, before a trip to face Bournemouth next Saturday precedes the Champions League return fixture against Roma the following week.
No doubt Pedro will have a vital role to play as Chelsea challenge on four fronts this season.
“The team is feeling good, we are confident and we want to continue in this way, taking it game by game, but we know it is very difficult,” he admitted. “Last season was very good for us and this season is different, but we will try to continue in this way, winning our games.”