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Hazard's double sends Chelsea third

Hazard's double sends Chelsea third

Eden Hazard scored twice as Chelsea eased past Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. on Saturday (Jan 20) lunchtime to claim their first win of 2018. The visitors -- without suspended Alvaro Morata -- made a storming start at the Amex Stadium, scoring twice in the opening six minutes.

An inspired performance from Eden Hazard helped Chelsea back to winning ways in the Premier League with a comprehensive 4-0 victory against Brighton at the Amex Stadium.

Antonio Conte's side were without a win in five games in all competitions heading into the clash on the south coast, but Hazard set the Blues on their way in the third minute before Willian rounded off a sensational team goal three minutes later to give the visitors the perfect start.

Brighton's response to the early setback was good, creating a number of decent chances but Willy Caballero was on top form to deny Tomer Hemed and the crossbar kept out Davy Propper's header early after the interval.

Ezequiel Schelotto was also denied by a smart block from Caballero and the hosts were eventually made to pay for their wastefulness in front of goal as Hazard (77) added his second of the afternoon and Victor Moses (89) rounded off the scoring as Chelsea wrapped up all three points to move above Liverpool into third.

Before kick-off, the Amex Stadium rose as one for a minute's applause to mark the passing of Cyrille Regis and both teams sported black armbands in respect of the former striker.

Once underway, Chelsea burst out of the blocks and they were ahead in the third minute when Moses' cross was diverted into the path of Hazard by Dale Stephens, and the Belgium international took a touch before firing the ball into the corner of the net for his 100th league goal.

Goals had been hard to come by with the Blues scoring just once in their last four matches in all competitions, but they had a second inside six minutes courtesy of Willian. The Brazil international was involved in some slick interplay with Hazard and Michy Batshuayi, leaving the Brighton defence all at sea before expertly finishing past Mat Ryan.

After their horror start, Brighton gradually grew into the game and they thought they should have had a penalty when Caballero, after making a mess of a cross, appeared to clip Schelotto, but nothing was given by referee Jon Moss.

The hosts were creating chances -- Caballero superbly denied Hemed from close range -- and they looked to Moss again just before half-time as Schelotto went down in the penalty area once again, this time under a challenge from Tiemoue Bakayoko, but again the referee waved away the appeals.

After the break, Chelsea remained a threat on the counter but it was Brighton creating the clearer cut chances, Propper heading Pascal Gross' cross past Caballero only to see the ball crash back off the crossbar. Minutes later, Chelsea were nearly out of sight but Ryan did brilliantly to get a vital hand to Willian's free-kick to divert the ball onto the post and away from goal.

Chances still continued to fall Brighton's way but Caballero proved hard to beat as the Argentine goalkeeper blocked Schelotto's low drive from 12 yards.

They were made to pay for the missed chances late on as Hazard capped another mazy run with a ruthless finish before Moses latched onto substitute Charly Musonda's inch-perfect 40-yard to seal a resounding away victory.