Chelsea 3-1 Newcastle: Eden Hazard double secures comfortable win
Last Updated: 03/12/17 9:01am
Eden Hazard scored twice as Chelsea came from behind to beat Newcastle 3-1 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Dwight Gayle gave the visitors a surprise lead when he finished in the 12th minute, only for Hazard and Alvaro Morata to reply before half-time.
Hazard then made sure of the points in the 74th minute when he chipped in a penalty after Victor Moses was fouled by Matt Ritchie.
The win sees Chelsea strengthen their position in the top four - they remain three points behind Manchester United, who beat Arsenal on Saturday evening - while Newcastle have now lost five of their last six matches.
Chelsea: Courtois (6), Azpilicueta (6), Rudiger (7), Christensen (6), Moses (7), Kante (7), Drinkwater (6), Fabregas (7), Alonso (7), Hazard (8), Morata (7).
Subs: Bakayoko (5), Willian (5), Cahill (5)
Newcastle: Darlow (6), Mbemba (4), Clark (4), Lejeune (4), Manquillo (4), Murphy (5), Merino (5), Diame (4), Ritchie (4), Perez (4), Gayle (5).
Subs: Shelvey (5), Hayden (5), Yedlin (5)
Man of the match: Eden Hazard
Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez was making his return to Stamford Bridge for the first time since winning the Europa League during a six-month interim spell in charge in 2011/12.
He could hardly have asked for a better start as Gayle pounced in the 12th minute after Thibaut Courtois spilt a shot from Jacob Murphy.
But Chelsea responded well and, after Hazard was denied by Karl Darlow and Andreas Christensen headed against the post, it was Hazard who levelled in the 21st minute.
Chelsea made four changes, with Hazard, Azpilicueta, Drinkwater and Moses coming into the starting XI. Manquillo, Diame and Gayle started for Newcastle.
Chelsea continued to threaten and Morata headed in from Moses' cross just after the half-hour mark to put the hosts in front.
Newcastle struggled to mount a comeback and Chelsea's pressure eventually told as Ritchie fouled Moses in the box and Hazard calmly chipped the penalty in as Darlow dived the other way.
Darlow denied Hazard his hat-trick when he stood tall to keep out another chipped effort, while Danny Drinkwater also went close as Chelsea closed out a comfortable win.
- Antonio Conte has won all 17 Premier League games with Chelsea in which Eden Hazard has scored.
- Newcastle have won just one of their last 19 away Premier League games (W1 D4 L14).
- Since the start of season, Alvaro Morata has scored 11 headed goals, more than any other player in Europe's big five leagues.
- Hazard has scored more Premier League goals versus Newcastle United than against any other team in the competition (6).
- Hazard has had a hand in 11 goals in his last 10 games in all competitions for Chelsea (8 goals, 3 assists).
Man of the match - Eden Hazard
Hazard has been hitting form in recent weeks and he was the star of the show at Stamford Bridge. Again playing in a No 10 role, the Belgium international had six shots on target, a league-high in the Premier League this season, and linked up well with Morata, Cesc Fabregas and Drinkwater.
As well as his two goals, the 26-year-old was a constant threat on the ball as Newcastle found it tough to get close.
"When you think of the two top men around today - Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo - when they go who are the next ones to take the mantle? Neymar? Hazard comes into that category, he is that good," said Graeme Souness on Sky Sports afterwards.
If Hazard continues in this vein for the rest of season, England beware next summer.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte: "I think we must be pleased, it was a good answer from all of my players. I think maybe we started the game a bit slow but after, when we went 1-0 down, we started to play with good intensity, we had chances to score and then we had a good performance. It was very important to take three points and we did this."
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez: "It is a pity because we started really well and then made mistakes. They have a lot of good things, they have to compete for the title. It is obvious they will be one of the teams in the top three. We did well."
Chelsea complete their Champions League group campaign on Tuesday when they host Atletico Madrid, before travelling to West Ham next Saturday, live on Sky Sports Premier League. Newcastle are at home to Leicester next Saturday.