Chelsea ..... 4 Cardiff ..... 1
MAURIZIO SARRI spent three weeks in the summer fretting that Eden Hazard might turn his back on Chelsea.
And that was before he had the chance to see the Belgian up close and personal in training.
So goodness only knows how concerned the new Blues boss would have been if he had known then what he knows now about the player’s true capabilities.
Hazard had scored in each of his last two games coming into this fixture and his treble here made it five in three and turned this game on its head.
He struck twice before the break after Sol Bamba had surprisingly put Cardiff in front.
And he calmly completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot after the break following a clumsy challenge on Willian by defender Bamba.
Willian was only on the field for
6; Azpilicueta 6, Rudiger
6, Luiz 7, Alonso 6; Kante
7, Jorginho 7, Kovacic 6 (Barkley (49th) 6), Pedro 7 30 minutes all told, after coming on as a replacement for Pedro.
But his impact was great and he rounded off Chelsea’s scoring with a peach of a goal, curling it beyond Neil Etheridge from 20 yards.
That strike moved Chelsea ahead of Liverpool at the top of the table on goal difference, with both sides keeping their 100 per cent records.
And the Blues’ victory saw Sarri become only the fourth manager to win his first five matches in the Premier League.
Now the challenge for Chelsea is to match the eight straight games Sarri’s Napoli side won in Serie A at the start of last season.
They will have to beat West Ham,
■TWO GOOD: Hazard puts Chelsea in front ■CLASS ACT: Eden completes his hat-trick from the penalty spot ■FINAL SAY: Sub Willian celebrates scoring the Blues’ fourth CHELSEA: