Hazard helps Chelsea script comeback against Newcastle

The 3-1 victory kept Chelsea in the third spot in the Premier League.

Eden Hazard celebrates Chelsea’s third goal.   -  Getty Images

Eden Hazard gave England followers a glimpse of what to expect at next summer's World Cup with a glorious display as Chelsea beat Newcastle United 3-1 at Stamford Bridge. Less than 24 hours after the World Cup draw put Belgium and England in the same group, Belgian Hazard was in imperious form, scoring twice and running at defenders at will.

Chelsea's victory, which keeps it third in the Premier League, ought to have been more emphatic but it briefly looked as if it might not collect the three points at all when Newcastle took a surprise lead in the 12th minute.

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Dwight Gayle chased down his own header and hurried Marcos Alonso into a back-pass which sold his keeper Thibaut Courtois short. Seeking to prevent Jacob Murphy nipping in to round him, Courtois was forced to dive at the Newcastle winger's feet but succeeded only in pushing the ball back to Gayle, who stroked it into the empty net.

The Chelsea response was immediate. Twice it went close before the inevitable equaliser finally arrived after 20 minutes. Alvaro Morata contested a high ball and it bounced off him and dropped towards Hazard, who controlled his half-volley to perfection, driving the ball into the ground and bouncing it into the far corner of the net.

In the lead

That goal settled any anxiety that had been floating around Stamford Bridge and it came as no surprise when the home side took the lead just after the half-hour.

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Matt Ritchie's clearing header was neither strong, nor decisive and fell straight to Victor Moses who quickly drilled over a cross that Morata merely had to divert home with his head. Danny Drinkwater, making only his second Chelsea start in the Premier League, was the next to go close with a shot which drifted away from the far post.

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The second half began as quietly as the first, with only a deflected Hazard shot raising excitement levels among the crowd above the soporific. That was until the 56th minute when the Belgian danced through the centre of the Newcastle defence only to stumble just he approached Karl Darlow in the Newcastle goal.

No hat-trick for Eden Hazard

At the other end, Ayoze Perez sent a bouncing shot just wide of the post, his last act before being replaced by Isaac Hayden.

If anyone was going to add to the scoreboard, however, it was going to be Hazard. Prepared to drift all over the pitch in search of the ball, he picked it up in his own half after 69 minutes and had Newcastle defenders backpedalling and afraid to tackle lest he skip his way past them.

A one-two with Drinkwater ended with the ball agonisingly out of his reach. When his second goal came, it was from the penalty spot, impudently chipping the ball beyond Darlow after Ritchie had brought down Moses.

The Newcastle keeper exacted a revenge of sorts moments later when he stuck out a hand to deny Hazard his hat-trick. As if in an act of mercy by Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, that was Hazard’s last contribution as he was replaced by Willian. Chelsea did not need him by then and may even have won more convincingly had Darlow not blocked Alonso's goal-bound shot.

Brave Gray winner continues Foxes revival under Puel


Demarai Gray's courageous early goal earned Leicester City a 1-0 home win over Premier League high-flyer Burnley on Saturday, maintaining its momentum under new manager Claude Puel.

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The Foxes have now collected 11 points from six league games since the Frenchman's appointment as Craig Shakespeare's successor, losing only to leader Manchester City.

Diouf winner sinks Swans to the bottom


Stoke City turned around an early deficit to record a much-needed 2-1 win at the bet365 Stadium and consign Swansea City to the foot of the Premier League table.

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The host, unbeaten at home against the Swans in this competition, fought back from the shock of falling behind in the third minute to ease the pressure on manager Mark Hughes after just one win in its previous seven outings.

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