HAZARD SCORES TWICE IN MAN-OF-THE-MATCH PREMIER LEAGUE MASTERCLASS
LONDON - Newcastle’s biggest error? Having the temerity to take the lead. When Dwight Gayle tapped home in the 12th minute, Rafa Benitez was rubbing his hands at the thought of getting one over a club - where on the whole - he is not remembered with much fondness.
Instead, it was the beginning of the end for his team. Chelsea were riled. Chelsea responded. Chelsea won.
Eden Hazard was the instigator, the Belgian producing another scintillating display to ensure his team keep on the coat tails of leaders Manchester City. Newcastle tried marking him, they tried kicking him. They tried everything. They couldn’t near him.
His double took his season tally to eight, an impressive return given he missed the opening month of the season.
Similarly, Antonio Conte’s team are building up a head of steam; this victory their 19th point from a possible 21 in the league.
Manchester City may be running away with the title; Chelsea, though, aren’t willing to give up their trophy with a fight. As for Benitez, this was an altogether forgettable experience on this first return to Stamford Bridge after his interim spell in charge during the 2012-13 season.
Chelsea fans don’t hold Benitez in the highest esteem, the boos that followed when his name was announced over the tannoy system illustrative for their disdain. Suffice to say their feelings towards the former Blues manager didn’t improve in the 12th minute as Newcastle took a shock lead.