A Hazard-Inspired Revival
By Gary Watton
February 12 2018
It almost inevitably took a brilliant contribution from the irreplaceable Eden Hazard to help Chelsea re-acquaint themselves with a league win after two disastrous outings against Bournemouth and Watford. The Belgian ace stroked home the opener after a lay-off from the erratic Giroud, but it was his second which really caught the eye. The maestro took the ball on the edge of the penalty area and let rip with his weaker left foot. The outcome was a shot that flew inside the near post, leaving Ben Foster helpless. No goalkeeper in this world would have saved that effort, unless he had actually positioned himself on the post. In between, Vic Moses calmly controlled the ball and scored also with his left foot from close range, after an intelligent run into the box that beat the offside trap, leaving the opposing defence stranded.
The two second half goals were most timely, as the hosts had laboured in the early stages of the second half. The Baggies looked more likely to equalise rather than the champions score again. In fact, it took a typically accurate intervention from Azpilicueta to deny an almost certain goal. In the end, the scoreline was comfortable, but maybe slightly flattering. Nobody in the Chelsea team played badly, but they will have to raise their game for stiffer tests in the course of the next few weeks. Still, it was a relief to return to winning ways and to jump back into the top four of the Premier League. Hopefully, the home team will make light work of Hull City in the FA Cup match on Friday night. Perhaps then momentum can help the team in their encounters with Barcelona and the terrible twins of Manchester.
Finally, some Chelsea fans will be left wondering whether it was a coincidence that Chelsea played reasonably well with Bakayoko unavailable!
CHELSEA 3 West Bromwich Albion 0; half time: 1-0
CHELSEA goal scorers: Hazard (two); Moses
CHELSEA: Courtois; Christensen; Rudiger; Azpilicueta; Fabregas; Zappacosta; Kante; Moses; Pedro; Giroud; Hazard. Used substitutes: Morata; Cahill; Willian
CHELSEA leading scorers:
Rudiger threepqs: qs:
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