Five-star Chelsea go on top of Premiership
Eden Hazard's dazzling double sent Chelsea surging to the top of the English Premier League with an electrifying 5-0 victory over Everton yesterday.
Not only was it Chelsea's fifth consecutive league win since a 3-0 humbling by Arsenal, but Antonio Conte's side has scored 16 times without reply while ruthlessly rolling over opponents.
With finesse and exuberance, Chelsea ripped through a brittle Everton side that had the league's second-best defensive record before its Stamford Bridge collapse.
Diego Costa and Pedro Rodriguez also scored, and if they continue to combine so effectively up front with Hazard — and the defensive reliance is maintained — Conte could be ending his first season in English football with silverware.
There's a long way to go, but the transformation of Chelsea from the miserable end of Jose Mourinho's reign a year ago has been immense.
Chelsea had only three wins and 11 points after 11 games in last season's feeble title defense. At the same stage this year, Chelsea is on 25 points with eight victories, although Arsenal can go top on Sunday by beating Tottenham.
"We don't want to send a message to the other teams," said Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, a title winner at Juventus. "For now it's important to send a message to ourselves ... we are working a lot to improve and this is the right way."
The symbol of Chelsea's revival is surely Hazard, whose morale was at a low ebb last year, but was looking even more dangerous than in Chelsea's title-winning season of 2014-15 when the winger was voted English football player of the year.
The only surprise was that Chelsea took until the 19th minute to go in front, having scored in the opening seven minutes of the last three games.
On the left flank, Costa passed to Hazard and he cut past Ashley Williams and Seamus Coleman before striking.
Within 25 seconds of the restart, the visitors conceded again, as Hazard and Pedro combined to set up Marcos Alonso, who struck through goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg's legs for his first Chelsea goal.
Only the post denied Victor Moses but Costa did grab Chelsea's third before halftime after Nemanja Matic was left unmarked to head a corner into the path of the striker.
By that stage, Koeman had already reverted to a four-man defense having abandoned the three-man backline that has worked so successfully for Conte during the winning run.
The pick of the goals came 10 minutes after the break, with a move started and completed by Hazard after a one-two with Moses. Hazard weaved into the penalty area, past Ramiro Funes Mori and Williams, before striking past Stekelenburg.
Costa was the creator of the fifth, winning the ball around the halfway line and darting down the field unchallenged before passing to Hazard. Although Hazard was denied a hat trick by Stekelenburg's save, Pedro was on hand to tap into the empty net.
West Ham continued its unstable start to life at the Olympic Stadium as Stoke came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw in the English Premier League.
Crowd trouble has marred the club's summer move to the 2012 Olympic venue, but it was onfield problems that left home fans frustrated this time.
Extra security measures contained any drama off the field, however the visitor's resilience ensured it wasn't a perfect afternoon for West Ham.
Slaven Bilic's side looked to be on its way to victory when Michail Antonio's header was deflected into his own net by Stoke's Glenn Whelan in the 65th.
But a goalkeeping error from Adrian allowed Stoke back into the game 10 minutes later.
The West Ham stopper came needlessly charging off his line, allowing Jonathan Walters to center for Bojan Krkic to volley into an empty net.
Marten de Roon headed a late equalizer as Middlesbrough snatched a 1-1 draw against Manchester City in the English Premier League.
Sergio Aguero's 150th City goal just before halftime looked like earning the hosts another three points but Pep Guardiola's team paid the price for failing to kill off the game.
City had 18 shots to Middlesbrough's none in the first half but the team's intensity dropped after the break and it was caught out when De Roon headed in Stewart Downing's cross in stoppage time.
Victor Anichebe inspired bottom-place Sunderland to its first success in the English Premier League at the 11th attempt, scoring the opener and winning a penalty to beat Bournemouth 2-1 yesterday.
Anichebe, whose only notable contribution this season had been a Twitter gaffe after the recent defeat at West Ham, was handed a first league start by under-pressure manager David Moyes.
And the striker responded with his first goal in 18 months, to cancel out Dan Gosling's opener, before winning the penalty that Jermain Defoe dispatched.
The win was all the more remarkable given Sunderland's Steven Pienaar was sent off with half an hour to go for a challenge on Junior Stanislas.
Chelsea’s Eden Hazard tries to get past Everton’s Tom Cleverley