English Premier League: Eden Hazard strikes take Chelsea two the four

Updated: Jan 21, 2018, 12:23 IST | PA Sport

Belgian's brace in 4-0 win over Brighton gives Blues their first win of 2018

Hazard celebrates his brace on Saturday. Pics/AFP
Hazard celebrates his brace on Saturday. Pics/AFP

Eden Hazard inspired Chelsea to a 4-0 victory at Brighton to give the champions their first Premier League win of 2018. Lightning strikes from Hazard and Willian fired Antonio Conte's side, stuttering in the top four on the back of three straight draws, into a two-goal lead in the opening six minutes. Belgian playmaker Hazard then took his tally for the season to 11 with a fine solo goal before Victor Moses added a late fourth. Seagulls boss Chris Hughton, yet to see his side take a point from any of the top six, reverted to a back five against the Blues — but it was soon apparent they would not be breaking their duck just yet. Only three minutes had elapsed when Moses reached the byline and his cut-back found its way to Hazard, who sidestepped Lewis Dunk before firing home.

And three minutes later Hazard and Michy Batshuayi combined in a blur of backheels before Willian provided the finish from just inside the area. It was a stunning goal and ruthless stuff from a Chelsea side, who were hit by injuries to four players as well as bans for Alvaro Morata and Pedro following Wednesday night's chaotic FA Cup tie against Norwich.

Chelsea's Eden Hazard (right) scores against Brighton
Chelsea's Eden Hazard (right) scores against Brighton

To their credit, Brighton had their moments in the first half too. They had two decent penalty shouts for trips on Ezequiel Schelotto, first by Blues keeper Willy Caballero - in for the injured Thibaut Courtois — and then Tiemoue Bakayoko. With the video assistant referee (VAR) system Chelsea felt so hard done by in midweek not in place, referee Jonathan Moss waved away both appeals.

Shortly after the interval Brighton were inches from halving the deficit when Davy Propper's header beat Caballero but came back off the post. Chelsea lost defender Andreas Christensen to a head injury after he tried to looked dazed following a clash in the penalty area. Hazard put the game to bed 13 minutes from time when he ran unchallenged into the Brighton and swept the ball past Ryan. Substitute Charly Musonda's fine ball then sent Moses clean through to slide in the fourth goal.

Arsenal rout Palace
London: Arsenal proved they can thrive without Alexis Sanchez as the rampant Gunners scored four times in the first 22 minutes of their 4-1 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday. Nacho Monreal, Alex Iwobi, Laurent Koscielny and Alexandre Lacazette scored once each for the Gunners.

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