Belgian star bags hat trick as Bluebirds are beaten at Chelsea
CARDIFF City were undone by an Eden Hazard masterclass despite a spirited performance to be comprehensively beaten at Chelsea. The genius Belgian winger produced two quality strikes in the first half, after Sol Bamba silenced Stamford Bridge with an early Bluebirds goal.
Hazard then finished the job with an ice-cool penalty after Bamba’s reckless challenge on Willian - who in turn added a fourth to help the Blues cruise home.
Cardiff had given an excellent account of themselves for the first 80 minutes of an entertaining affair but Chelsea’s quality shone through, particularly through the peerless Hazard.
Neil Warnock, in an effort to continue his side’s improved attacking threat from the previous outing against Arsenal, picked an unchanged team with Bobby Reid again partnering Danny Ward up front.
Chelsea opted for the more physical Olivier Giroud at the expense of Alvaro Morata, as well as the speed of Pedro.
And the first opening came for Giroud, the Frenchman nodding over from Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross.
The Blues, aided by Maurizio Sarri’s free-flowing possession football that has made them the most prolific passers in this nascent Premier League, looked to put the stranglehold on their visitors from the word go.
Midfielder Jorginho had complet- ed the most individual passes of any top flight player before this game and predictably saw plenty of the ball. Hazard probed dangerously in a free role.
The Belgian’s reverse ball released Marcos Alonso in the box, whose cross was almost turned home by Giroud after nine minutes.
Cardiff did display that forward
Eden Hazard celebrates the first of his three goals