Hazard, Torres send Chelsea atop EPL

Jan 12, 2014, 05:13 IST | AFP

Blues cruise past Hull City 2-0 to take first spot on table  

Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres scored two excellent goals as Chelsea won 2-0 at Hull City on Saturday to climb to the top of the Premier League table. Hazard, who turned 23 on Tuesday, broke the deadlock early in the second period at the KC Stadium before Torres marked his 200th Premier League appearance with a late goal.

Fernando Torres
Chelsea’s Fernando Torres (right) shoots to score against Hull City during their EPL match at the KC Stadium in Hull on Saturday. Pic/AFP

Victory moved Jose Mourinho’s side into first place above former leaders Arsenal, who visit Aston Villa on Monday, and set them up nicely for next weekend's home game with Manchester United. Hull had beaten Fulham 6-0 in their previous home game and they had the best of the early skirmishes, with Jake Livermore testing Petr Cech from long range and Yannick Sagbo shooting wide after John Terry lost the ball.

Chelsea began to assert control, however, and Hull goalkeeper Allan McGregor had to produce a razor-sharp reflex save to deny Oscar before tipping a plunging David Luiz free-kick over the crossbar. McGregor had to repel another free-kick from Luiz early in the second period before Hazard made the breakthrough in the 56th minute with a characteristic individual goal.

The Belgian forward collected a flick from Ashley Cole just outside the Hull area and shifted the ball away from a couple of defenders before drilling a low shot into the bottom-right corner with his right foot. Torres applied the finishing touch in the 87th minute, gathering a pass just inside the Hull half and wriggling past Alex Bruce before slamming a low shot inside the left-hand post.

Chelsea manager Mourinho dismissed French media reports linking Hazard with a move to Paris Saint-Germain, saying: “The club doesn’t want to sell him. Obviously the manager has that decision. Every manager wants players like him. “Last year you saw a talented Hazard. This year he is a much more mature player. He deserves more than man of the match, probably player of the month. Not many are doing what he is doing.”

Elsewhere, Everton climbed back into the Champions League places with a 2-0 win at home to Norwich City. Gareth Barry put Everton ahead in the 23rd minute with a fine 20-yard shot, with Kevin Mirallas adding a free-kick shortly before the hour. Tottenham Hotspur beat Crystal Palace 2-0 at White Hart Lane with a goal each from Christian Eriksen (50th min) and Germaine Defoe (72nd min). 

EPL results
Hull City 0-2 Chelsea
Cardiff City 0-2 West Ham
Everton 2-0 Norwich City
Fulham 1- 4 Sunderland
S’hampton1-0 West Brom 

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