Eden Hazard scored his first Premier League goals of the season as Chelsea recorded an impressive win at Bournemouth. The Belgian played a key part in the success, as he scored a brace. Fellow midfielders Pedro and Willian both got themselves on the scoresheet, helping the Blues move up to ninth in the league.
Guus Hiddink named a strong side for this trip down south. After back to back defeats, the Blues needed a much better display here. Hazard returned to the side for the first time in over a month. The big change here saw John Obi Mikel drop back in to central defence, alongside Branislav Ivanovic. Asmir Begovic came in for Thibaut Courtois in goal.
After winning at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season, the Cherries were hoping to complete an incredible double here. That seems to have led Hiddink’s approach here, as he aimed to halt their poor run of form. After two slow starts, this one looked to be more of the same in the opening minutes. Bournemouth were in charge for five minutes, until the opening goal.
In the sixth minute, a Chelsea breakaway saw Cesc Fabregas feed Pedro. The Spaniard found himself clear on goal following Cesc’s great pass, and he found the bottom corner to give the Blues an early lead. It was a much needed confidence boost to a shaken up Blues team.
Bournemouth came pressing for an equaliser, but they didn’t really trouble Begovic in goal. While the Cherries looked for a leveller, Hazard finally broke his league duck for the season. Once again Fabregas played a part, with the Belgian picking up the ball and striking from 20 yards out. It might have come too late, but his celebrations after the goal were reassuring to the fans who thought he’d given up on the club.
As Bournemouth kept pushing, Begovic looked shaky when being pressed in the air. It was a corner that got the better of him, with Tommy Elphick’s header evading a sleeping Blues defence. Eddie Howe’s men were back in it before half time, and once again the champions suffered due to a defensive lapse.
The second half was a mixed affair, and it took over 25 minutes for either side to get a goal. Once again it was courtesy of Fabregas, who had a great game. He played in Willian, who lifted the ball over Artur Boruc and saw it find the net.
As the game got into added time, Hazard struck again. Fabregas wasn’t involved this time, as Nemanja Matic made a run and pulled the ball back across goal. The Belgian tapped home from six yards, finishing off a strong performance.
That was a welcome win for the Blues, especially with Hazard involved. He seemed really motivated in this one, and the display showed signs of life within the team. It’s not something to get too excited about, but it’s something Antonio Conte can at least work with.
LCN Man of the Match: Cesc Fabregas