Hazard’s brilliance inspires Chelsea to victory over Arsenal

Chelsea 3 Arsenal 1

Eden Hazard scored an outstanding individual goal and Cesc Fabregas netted against his old club as Chelsea maintained their stranglehold at the top of the Premier League.

Eight minutes into the second half, with the Blues leading 1-0, Hazard collected Diego Costa’s knockdown on the halfway line and embarked on a mazy run, shrugging off the clumsy attentions of Francis Coquelin and dazzling Laurent Koscielny before slipping the ball past Petr Cech.

Marcos Alonso had put the home side in front on 13 minutes when he got above Hector Bellerin to nod in the rebound after Diego Costa’s header had looped up off the bar.

And Fabregas underscored Chelsea’s dominance in the closing stages when he embarrassed ex-Blues keeper Petr Cech, lobbing his mis-hit clearance back over his head from 25 yards.

Cech’s successor at Stamford Bridge, Thibaut Courtois, made good saves in either half to deny both Gabriel and Danny Welbeck to ensure yet another home victory.

He was beaten in injury time when Olivier Giroud nodded in from Nacho Monreal’s cross, but it was too little, too late.

Hazard will grab the attention for a quite remarkable strike but all of Chelsea’s players deserve great credit for the way they dominated an Arsenal side who could not cope with the intensity and workrate of Antonio Conte’s side.

The Italian has often spoken of a “will to win”, and this was exemplified by Alonso’s desire to beat Bellerin to the ball for the Blues’ opener – his trailing arm did catch the Spaniard, who was so dazed he had to be replaced, but calls for a foul were misplaced.

Arsenal, with manager Arsene Wenger serving a touchline ban, had few answers – and when they did come close, they found Courtois in superb form.

The introduction of Giroud and Danny Welbeck did them little good and Fabregas piled on the misery when he capitalised on a terrible error from Cech.

Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill; Moses (Zouma 87), Kante, Matic, Alonso; Pedro (Willian 83), Costa, Hazard (Fabregas 83).
Subs not used: Begovic, Terry, Chalobah, Batshuayi.