CHELSEA skipper John Terry scored in his 17th consecutive season before producing a defensive error just 35 seconds later to hand Watford an equaliser.
Cesar Azpilicueta and Michy Batshuayi then gave the champions a two-goal advantage before Daryl Janmaat brought the Hornets back into the game.
Italian super-sub striker Stefano Okaka then threatened to spoil the title-winning party when he lashed home from close range with 15 minutes remaining to level the match.
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But Cesc Fabregas had the final say late on to lash home Chelsea’s fourth of the night.
In Terry’s first league start since September, the veteran bagged his 67th Chelsea goal and most likely his last when he latched onto a loose ball following a corner.
But less than a minute after kick-off, Terry’s header back to Asmir Begovic fell short to Etienne Capoue who was left with a simple finish to draw the visitors level.
Watford were level for just 12 minutes when Azpilicueta grabbed his first of the season with a powerful effort from the edge of the box.
And moments after the half-time whistle Batshuayi grabbed his second in two matches after Nathan Ake teed him up for the easiest of finishes.
But the drama didn’t end there as two minutes later Janmaat coasted into the Chelsea box before skipping past Ake and sliding the ball into the far corner.
Chelsea piled on the pressure searching for a fourth but Heurelho Gomes produced a number of wonderful saves to keep Watford in the contest.
And out of the blue Okaka pounced three minutes after coming on to silence the Bridge before Fabregas found space late on to drill the ball home.
Watford’s misery was compounded in stoppage time as Sebastian Prodl was sent off for two yellow cards.
FACTS, STATS, GOALS & LOLS
- EMBARRASSED Chelsea had to form a guard of honour for champions Leicester last season. They were on the receiving end as Watford paid tribute to them as new champions before kick off.
- Weird atmosphere though as with nine changes to the line up from Friday’s title-winning side it was only Eden Hazard and Cesar Azpilicueta on parade.
- BOSS Antonio Conte had a new suit on after his was wrecked by a dousing of champagne and water in the celebrations after the decisive win at West Brom.
- WATFORD boss Walter Mazzarri also made changes – leaving team captain Troy Deeney on the bench.
- Captain John Terry was restored to the first team and put a scratch Chelsea side ahead in the 24th minute from a Willian corner.
- But the lead lasted just two minutes as he then headed the ball straight into the path of Etienne Capoue to equalise.
- Mazzarri was clearly trying to outdo Conte’s trademark gesturing and flapping in the dugout as it became a dad dance off between the two animated Italians.
- Cesar Azpilicueta puts Chelsea back in front with a clinical finish from the edge of the box through a crowd of players.
- Capoue’s equaliser was Watford’s first goal in more than ten hours of football.
- Daryl Janmaat, Stefano Okaka and Cesc Fabregas were still to find the back of the net
- Terry, who leaves on Monday, told Chelsea fans that he is ‘the lucky one’ having spent his entire career at the club and with five Premier League titles.
21 May – Sunderland (H) – Prem
27 May – Arsenal (N) – FA Cup
21 May – Manchester City (H) – Prem
DREAM TEAM RATINGS
Chelsea: Begovic 5, Terry 6, Zouma 7, Ake 6, Azpilicueta 8, Kenedy 6 (Aina 75, 6) Chalobah 6 (Fabregas 79, 7) Kante 7, Willian 8, Hazard 7, Batshuayi 7 (Pedro 84, 6)
Subs not used: Eduardo, Cahill, Alonso, Costa
Booked: Ake, Chalobah
Watford: Gomes 6, Mariappa 6, Prodl 5, Holebas 5, Amrabat 6, Cleverley 6, Behrami 6, Doucoure 6, Janmaat 6, Capoue 6 (Deeney 91, 5) Niang 5 (Okaka 71, 7)
Subs not used: Pantilimon, Pereira, Zuniga, Eleftheriou, Mason
Booked: Holebas, Prodl (red card), Amrabat
Goals: Terry (22) Capoue (24) Azpilicueta (36) Batshuayi (49) Janmaat (51) Okaka (74) Fabregas (88)
STAR MAN: WILLIAN
WHAT THEY SAID
Chelsea skipper John Terry: “It was a crazy minute. I got on the scoresheet and a minute later made a mistake and let him [Etienne Capoue] in. Mixed emotions.
“I’m delighted to get on the scoresheet. But any young kid watching, if in doubt get it out. That’s what i should have done.
“I was delighted to start first and foremost, and to score and win. It’s important to keep this momentum going for the FA Cup final.”