Eden Hazard masterminds Chelsea win at Brighton
Premier League, Amex Stadium – Brighton 0 Chelsea 4 (Hazard 3, 77, Willian 6, Moses 89).
Eden Hazard returned to his majestic best with a brace as Chelsea beat Brighton 4-0 for their first Premier League win in 2018.
In a week where the Blues have been linked with a string of tall strikers, they exploded out of the blocks to score two early goals in the absence of the suspended Alvaro Morata. Hazard scored the opener with a clinical strike which flew past Seagulls keeper Matt Ryan before Willian netted the second after some lovely interplay from the Belgian and Michy Batshuayi.
The home side to their credit responded well, creating a number of good chances and should have been awarded a penalty when Willy Caballero, in for the injured Thibaut Courtois, tripped Ezequiel Schelotto in the box.
Chris Hughton’s side created further good opportunities in the second period and hit the woodwork but they were undone by another fine Chelsea move finished off by Hazard. And the visitors sealed the rout late on through Victor Moses’ first goal in 14 months for a victory which sees Antonio Conte’s side go third while Brighton remain in 16th spot.
Did Michy Batshuayi convince as the main striker? The Belgian did well at times in his audition. His linkup play was impressive and he carved out a few good chances but he looks more at home as a second striker. He will be disappointed he did not get on the scoresheet as the Blues have been linked with moves for Fernando Llorente, Andy Carroll and Peter Crouch.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Eden Hazard (Chelsea): He has had a slump in form over the past month but the Belgian was back to his best today. In the absence of Pedro and Cesc Fabregas, Hazard was the main attacking threat with his trickery and pace. He showed he was in the mood early on with a well-taken opening goal which he bettered with a solo effort in the second half.