Eden Hazard

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Chelsea 3-0 West Brom: Giroud, Hazard link downs Baggies

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  • Eden Hazard brace earns Chelsea the win
  • Giroud bags assist on full debut
  • Blues jump back into Champions League place

Olivier Giroud was brought in to score goals, but on his full Chelsea debut it was his strong hold-up play that earned the Blues all three points.

The Frenchman started and set up Eden Hazard for the opening goal after a half-hour, warding off a defender and letting his new teammate slice through the back line to score as Chelsea topped West Brom at Stamford Bridge 3-0.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

West Brom was forced into an early change as January signing Daniel Sturridge limped off injured after just four minutes following, a familiar sight for Premier League fans. On came Jay Rodriguez, who had the best chance of the first half-hour after Victor Moses accidentally played him through, but he fired wide one-on-one with Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

The opening 30 minutes saw Chelsea enjoy decent control but West Brom poked and prodded. However the Blues opened the scoring through Hazard, who took a strong layoff from Olivier Giroud on a one-two play, leaving the Belgian clean through after the nifty touch.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

After halftime, the game ground to a halt, and with an hour gone Antonio Conte withdrew Giroud in favor of Alvaro Morata who returned from his injury layoff. The change sparked the Blues, and they scored just three minutes later. Victor Moses found Cesc Fabregas at the top of the box, and the Spaniard looked to play the ball back to Moses, and while his rabona pass clipped a defender, it still found Moses streaking on net and the Nigerian finished cooly for a 2-0 lead.

With the Blues firmly in control, they tacked on a third with 20 minutes to go. A moment of brilliance saw Hazard cut inside to beat Jonny Evans, and fired on net, crashing the shot home inside the near post for a 3-0 lead and the game decided.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The win gets Chelsea back to winning ways after a small two-game losing streak in Premier League play, pushing them above Tottenham into fourth position and a single point back of Liverpool in third. For West Brom, it’s their third straight defeat in league play and leaves them bottom of the table, without a win since defeating Brighton 2-0 on January 13.

Watford 4-1 Chelsea: Bakayoko’s early red dooms woeful Blues

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  • Bakayoko sent off 30 minutes in for 2nd yellow
  • Troy Deeney scored from the spot
  • Chelsea conceded three times in the final 10 minutes

Life comes at you fast.

Midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko was sent off after a half-hour, and while it appeared Eden Hazard had rescued the Blues after a mostly woeful performance, Chelsea ultimately could see it over the line, conceding three times in the final nine minutes plus stoppage time to fall to Watford for the first time since 1999.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Bakayoko, who has struggled mightily since moving to Chelsea from Monaco over the summer, had a horror first-half, and it only lasted just over a half-hour before he was sent to the showers. The 23-year-old was booked 25 minutes in for a foul on Etienne Capoue, and just five minutes later a heavy touch got away from him. In his reckless effort to win the ball back, he stepped over the ball and caught Richarlison with a nasty stomp, earning a deserved second booking and reducing Chelsea to 10 men before halftime.

Antonio Conte was forced to sacrifice Willian to shore up the midfield in Bakayoko’s absence, bringing on Cesc Fabregas four minutes after the red card. Watford was still able to possess the ball with more ferocity, and they earned the game’s opening goal as debutant Gerard Deulofeu was fouled in the box by Thibaut Courtois. Troy Deeney scored from the spot, and the Hornets went ahead just before the halftime break.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Chelsea showed more intent in the second half despite their disadvantage, but it was Watford that had the best chance before the hour mark, with Deulofeu popping up in a dangerous spot again off a corner to fire a shot from outside the top of the box that just skipped wide right.

Conte brought Olivier Giroud on for his Blues debut, but only after Pedro was withdrawn after being injured in the 63rd minute, adding to the significant Chelsea injury list with Alvaro Morata and Andreas Christensen already struggling with fitness. Moments later, Abdoulaye Doucore forced an acrobatic save by Courtois as he rifled on net on the break.

Cesc Fabregas had a big chance for Chelsea to pull level with 10 minutes to go after great work from Eden hazard, but his shot was poorly placed directly at Watford goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis. Chelsea continued to put Watford under pressure, and the equalizer came a minute later. Chelsea superstar Hazard rescued his team as he undressed Adrian Mariappa, cutting inside and slightly backwards before rifling a stunning curler into the far top corner for the equalizer.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The game began to open up, and Watford went right back in front. Darryl Janmaat put the Hornets ahead again, carving up the Chelsea defense on a give-and-go with substitute Roberto Pereyra, and then Deulofeu sliced and diced on the break to put the game away. Pereyra piled on the Blues misery with a fourth a minute into injury time.

The loss, Chelsea’s second in a row, leaves them vulnerable in fourth just a point ahead of fifth-placed Tottenham. The Blues have won just once in the last five matches. Watford, meanwhile, remains in 11th but pulled within just one of 10th placed Everton.

Transfer Talk: Ronaldo to Chelsea? Hazard to MCFC?

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Sunday’s transfer rumors are coming in hot, so you better buckle up.

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Perhaps Real Madrid’s inconsistency this season could bring good fortunes to the defending Premier League champions.

The Sun is reporting that Cristiano Ronaldo is considering a move to Chelsea this summer, with the Portuguese international content on leaving the Santiago Bernabeu.

While London may seem a bit strange as a choice of destination for Ronaldo, especially given his past at Manchester United, the Red Devils likely cancelled out any chance of bringing back the star forward when they recently acquired Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal.

However, any move to bring Ronaldo to Stamford Bridge is likely contingent on Chelsea losing Eden Hazard over the summer.

Although the Belgian star is under contract with the Blues until 2020, Hazard has been linked time and time again with Real and Paris Saint-Germain, so if the 27-year-old does leave then Ronaldo would clearly be a suitable replacement.


Hazard could very well stay in the PL though, whether that be with Chelsea or another top English side.

One report states that Pep Guardiola and Manchester City are preparing to launch an astonishing $212 million bid for the Chelsea attacker.

Hazard, who has scored 12 goals this season for the Blues, nearly joined the Citizens back in 2012 when he first came to Stamford Bridge.

Complications in the deal with Man City stopped the move from going through, and allowed the Blues to acquire the Belgian.


Arturo Vidal could be on his way to the PL this summer, with Bayern Munich reportedly interested in selling the Chilean international.

Chelsea have been linked with the veteran midfielder for some time now, however, the Manchester Evening News is reporting that Manchester United could make a play for the 30-year-old.

A move to Stamford Bridge makes a bit more sense given Conte’s track record having coached Vidal at Juventus, but Jose Mourinho seems intent on adding more to his Red Devils squad, too.

Arsenal joins Man City in League Cup Final

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  • Hazard scores early
  • Freak own goal makes it 1-1
  • Xhaka puts Arsenal ahead

Granit Xhaka‘s second half goals snapped a 1-1 tie and sent Arsenal into the League Cup Final, as Arsene Wenger‘s Gunners topped Chelsea on Wednesday at the Emirates Stadium.

A goofy double-deflection which will go down as an Antonio Rudiger own goal was Arsenal’s other goal, and Eden Hazard opened the scoring for Chelsea. The clubs played a scoreless first leg at Stamford Bridge two weeks ago.

Arsenal has won three FA Cups in four seasons, but has not won the League Cup since 1993.

Man City will be the opponent in League Cup Final on Feb. 25 at Wembley Stadium.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Pedro had the ball in the goal five minutes into the match, but was offside when he darted onto Cesar Azpilicueta’s perfectly-weighted ball.

Hazard was within the rules when he cut between Shkrodan Mustafi and Laurent Koscileny to meet Pedro’s pass and it was 1-0 in the seventh.

Wily Caballero was injured two minutes later when he stopped Jack Wilshere‘s in-tight bid to equalize for Arsenal.

The Gunners did make it 1-1 in the 12th off the ensuing corner kick, as Monreal’s header turned off the heads of Marcos Alonso and Antonio Rudiger en route to goal. A freak play, but 1-1 nonetheless.

Willian was injured and Ross Barkley hit the pitch in his new blue No. 8. The ex-Everton star was then chopped down by a yellow-card earning Wilshere.

Mesut Ozil’s deflected effort in stoppage time, set up by Wilshere, just missed the far post.

Arsenal went ahead before the game was an hour old, as Xhaka got his boot between Caballero and the ball to prod home the Gunners’ second after Alexandre Lacazette‘s pass bounded into his path.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Willian proves he’s Chelsea’s x-factor against Brighton

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There’s a considerable difference when watching a Chelsea team that plays with and without one of its Brazilian influences in the attacking part of the field.

Willian — who first debuted for the Blues back in 2013 — hasn’t always managed to be a regular starter for Chelsea, whether it was Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink or current manager Antonio Conte at the helm, though.

[ SOURCES: Jack Harrison expected to join Stoke City this winter ]

The 29-year-old plays with considerable flair, something that certainly isn’t uncommon amongst many players that have grown up in Brazil.

At times Willian’s overconfidence is a significant blessing, and at others it can be considered a curse, however, the former Corinthians player’s presence is something that Chelsea needs now more than ever.

That was on display on Saturday during the side’s 4-0 win at Brighton, a match in which Chelsea dominated from start to finish with Willian on the pitch. While the performance cannot solely be attributed to the attacking midfielder’s showing, it’s easy to argue that the Blues midfielder is becoming the club’s biggest x factor — one that can determine the outcome of a match.

Just look six minutes into the match, when the Blues put together one of the best team goals you’ll see in a match this year (or any year for that matter), which of course, was started and finished by none other than Willian.

What stands out about the play isn’t the brilliant slicing shot into the near post corner by the veteran playmaker, but instead the confidence that Willian exudes and brings to a Chelsea lineup that has plenty of talent to be considered one of the best teams in England and all of Europe.

After all, Conte’s group is just a season removed from winning the Premier League and still sits inside the top three in the world’s top league.

Then, there’s the Blues’ third goal against Brighton, which was set up by a smart, and instinctive, through ball played into the path of Eden Hazard by Willian (below).

Even though Hazard ends up with a ton of time on the ball to make his next decision, which was ultimately to cut inside on his preferred right foot, the run by Willian towards the end line dragged a defender away from the Belgian international — allowing the sequence to progress.

Arguing Willian’s importance isn’t a knock on Hazard — a world-class player in his own right — or Alvaro Morata, who has had the intolerable task of replacing a key player like Diego Costa.

Instead, it simply shows that Chelsea has a plethora of talent, and that some of the club’s attacking struggles throughout the 2017/18 season can be chalked up to Willian being left out of the starting XI on a regular basis.

[ MORE: Sergio Aguero continues to display brilliance for Man City ]

The Brazilian international has scored eight goals and added seven assists this season in all competitions for the Blues, despite only starting 19 matches.

The mind of manager Conte is an ever-changing one, so maybe Willian still doesn’t get the starting nod on an every week basis, but just by watching the team’s performance at the Amex Stadium it’s quite hard to argue against the player being on the field as much as possible.