Chelsea brushed aside Newcastle 3-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, as Belgian superstar Eden Hazard bagged all three goals in a routine win.
Following slip ups for Arsenal and Manchester City, Chelsea now have a one point lead at the PL summit, as Hazard struck twice in the first half and then rounded off his first-ever hat trick for the Blues from the penalty spot after the break.
Chelsea were in cruise control for most of the match, as Newcastle rarely threatened going forward as they tried to stay compact.
But Hazard, who earlier this week spoke of his dream to score more goals to move into the same bracket as World Player’s of the year Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, tore Newcastle apart with his powerful runs from the flank as he proved too much to handle.
With the win Chelsea are top on 56 points, while Newcastle remain in eighth spot and have 37 points.
A bright start from Chelsea saw Frank Lampard smash a free kick just wide of the post, but Newcastle were looking pretty solid as Hatem Ben Arfa was causing some problems with his box of tricks.
Chelsea bossed possession and Hazard tried his best to break down a stubborn Newcastle defense with several enterprising runs but the Magpies held firm in the opening stages in West London.
But in the 27th minute Chelsea broke the deadlock after Hazard played a wonderful one-two with Branislav Ivanoic and the Belgian winger swept the ball home for his 12th goal of the season. 1-0 to Chelsea.
Newcastle had a great chance to equalize just moments later as Moussa Sissoko went clean through but his touch let him down and Petr Cech saved. Then Hazard popped up to grab a second after playing another delicious one-two, this time with Samuel Eto’o, and the youngster bagged his and Chelsea’s second of the match in the 34th minute.
After the break Chelsea had several good chances to make it 3-0, with the best coming after 57 minutes when Eto’o was found unmarked in the box but his shot was blocked by some heroic defending from Newcastle.
Moments later it was 3-0, and it was that man Hazard who bagged his third goal of the game from the penalty spot, as the winger now has 15 goals this season. The PK was given for a foul on Eto’o by Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, as he pulled the Chelsea striker to the ground as corner came in.
Chelsea were on cruise control for the rest of the match and Hazard left the pitch as sub late on to rapturous applause from the home fans. This boy from Belgium is a bit special.
Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Azpilicueta; Matic, Lampard; Willian (Salah, 78), Oscar, Hazard (Schurrle, 85); Eto’o (Ba, 71)
Goals: Hazard (27, 34, 63)
Newcastle: Krul; Debuchy (Yanga-Mbiwa, 40), Williamson, S.Taylor, Dummett; Anita (Marveaux, 84), Santon; Ben Arfa (Gosling, 64), Sissoko, Sammy Ameobi; de Jong