Chelsea continued their 100% home league record with a comfortable win over an out of form Hull side. Goals from Eden Hazard and Diego Costa fired the Blues to victory, keeping them three points clear at the top of the table. In between those strikes, the visitors had Tom Huddlestone sent off.
The hosts weren’t quite at their strongest, as they had Cesc Fabregas missing through suspension. That allowed John Obi Mikel to start, as he and Nemanja Matic formed a formidable defensive shield in the middle. Thibaut Courtois was injured late in the week, with Petr Cech coming in to replace him. As far as replacements go, those were two pretty good ones.
The home support didn’t have to wait long for the opening goal, with the Blues ahead within seven minutes. Matic, who missed out last week through suspension, sent in a fantastic cross which was headed in by Hazard of all people. The Belgian found himself unmarked in the box, and he got his head on it to put Chelsea ahead.
There was an air of complacency after that, with the league leaders dropping down a gear and letting Hull back in to it. Steve Bruce’s men couldn’t really force a chance, but there was little threat coming from the Chelsea attack. They carried a narrow 1-0 lead in at half time, needing to step things up in the second half.
The second period started off evenly matched, but the red card just before the hour mark really hit Hull. Huddlestone went in with an ugly challenge on Filipe Luis, which deserved a straight red. With the visitors down to 10, Chelsea knew they had this one in their control.
That control was extended soon after, when they doubled their lead. Hazard was impressive, and he teed up Costa who ended a four game goalless drought. It was a well taken goal by the former Atletico Madrid man, and it showed that he’s at his best when going on instinct. He’s seemed a little hesitant in the last couple of weeks, but he hit this one before he had time to think and buried it in the Hull net.
It was by no means the best performance from Chelsea this season, but it was classic Mourinho. Early goal, double the lead in the second half, keep a clean sheet and head home with a 2-0 win. While many will have wanted to see them press on for a bigger win, that energy is better saved with many more games to come in the next few weeks.
This result kept Chelsea three points ahead of Man City, who won 1-0 at Leicester. While the dives from Gary Cahill and Willian will dominate the news cycle, what’s more important is Chelsea are back to winning ways in the Premier League. Next up for the Blues is a trip to Derby on Tuesday night in the Capital One Cup.
LCN Man of the Match: Eden Hazard