Hazard dazzles as Chelsea thumps Brighton

Florence Fletcher
January 21, 2018

"It's 4-0 but he did a great performance".

Chelsea moved up to the third spot in the league table with 50 points from 24 games.

Jamie Vardy's penalty and a Riyad Mahrez goal saw Leicester City continue Watford's miserable league run.

Two-goal Eden Hazard inspired the champions, stuttering in the top four after three straight draws, to their first win of 2018.

As Morata's goals dried up, so did Chelsea's, and it was clear a change of approach was needed.

Antonio Conte accepted Pedro dived in a controversial FA Cup tie that has left Chelsea without the forward and fellow striker Alvaro Morata for a Premier League match at Brighton on Saturday.

And with six minutes on the clock Hazard and Michy Batshuayi combined in a blur of back-heels before Willian put the seal on a stunning goal.

Chris Hughton is winless in seven matches against Chelsea in all competitions (D2 L5), losing each of the last five; his only victory against them came in the League Cup in September 2010, a 4-3 win at Stamford Bridge for Newcastle United.

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Chelsea's four goals were more than enough to comfortably get the win because of Brighton's inability to score. The 89th minute strike by Moses capped the Blues party after getting an assist from Musonda.

Caballero did have a lucky escape when he appeared to trip Schelotto in the area at 2-0 and the former Manchester City goalkeeper conceded his side enjoyed the benefit of the doubt - in contrast to when Willian was booked for simulation following a VAR review against Norwich.

With Thibaut Courtois sidelined with a minor injury, forgotten man Willy Caballero was drafted in for cover between the sticks.

For roughly two weeks, and nearly 400 minutes of soccer, Chelsea had forgotten how to score goals.

Antonio Conte's men came into this game on the back of some indifferent form but they've been untouchable in the early stages against Brighton with Willian and Hazard to the fore.

Caballero hacked down Ezequiel Schelotto, on 16 minutes - but referee Jonathan Moss ignored the justified penalty pleas.

Hazard got a deserved second goal on 77 minutes when he calmly slotted into the bottom corner from 15 yards, after being invited to run into the box by a terrified Brighton defence which backed off and backed off.

For a spell of around 30 minutes in the first half, Hazard was at his bewitching best.

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