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Hazard double eases pressure on Conte


Hazard double eases pressure on Conte

Chelsea returned to winning ways by seeing off basement boys West Bromwich Albion 3-0 at Stamford Bridge on Monday (Feb 12).

Eden Hazard scored twice as Chelsea bounced back from consecutive Premier League defeats with a 3-0 victory over West Brom on Monday to move back into the top four. After making a shaky start, Hazard settled the nerves around Stamford Bridge with a brilliantly-worked opener in the 25th minute, but the hosts continued to look vulnerable at the back as West Brom missed several chances to equalise.

Victor Moses capitalised on a fortunate deflection to double Chelsea's advantage in the 63rd minute, before Hazard scored a stunning third eight minutes later to make sure of a crucial three points for Chelsea.

The victory sees Chelsea climb back above Tottenham into fourth after just a third win in 11 in all competitions -- easing the pressure on head coach Antonio Conte in the process -- while West Brom's problems continue as they stayed rooted to the bottom of the Premier League, seven points from safety with 11 games remaining.

West Brom suffered a huge blow to their game plan in the third minute as Daniel Sturridge was forced off with an injury but his replacement, Jay Rodriguez, could have won a penalty with his first touch, but no foul was adjudged to have been committed by Cesc Fabregas.

Rodriguez remained in the thick of the action and he drilled a first-time effort wide having latched onto a misplaced header from Moses.

Chelsea did settle into the match and went close to breaking the deadlock after 16 minutes but Davide Zappacosta saw his back-post effort well saved by Ben Foster. The West Brom stopper then saved Olivier Giroud's tame effort from point-blank range with his legs.

But Giroud turned provider to help Chelsea take the lead. Hazard fed the ball into the France international, he backed into his man, cushioned the pass back in Hazard's path, for the Chelsea forward to sweep the ball home.

Giroud then came close to a first Chelsea goal, but he could not quite get the desired connection on an overhead kick from close range.

After the break, Chelsea again struggled to find their rhythm, and could easily have conceded an equaliser after Andreas Christensen had been caught on the ball by Salomon Rondon, but the West Brom hitman was denied by a smart Thibaut Courtois stop before Jonny Evans headed wide from the resulting corner.

Those misses proved costly as Chelsea wrapped up victory in the space of eight minutes. First, Moses fed the ball into Fabregas, who tried to flick the ball through for substitute Alvaro Morata, Craig Dawson made the block, but inadvertently diverted the ball back into the path of Moses, who stroked the ball into the net.

Then, Hazard carried the ball to the edge of the box, cut inside, before rifling a strike past Foster at his near post to cap a man-of-the-match display.

West Brom have not beaten Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in any of their last 17 visits in all competitions (D3 L14), since winning 1-0 in the League Cup in November 1983 under Ron Wylie.

West Brom have won just one of their last 25 Premier League matches (D11 L13).

Eden Hazard has had a hand in 105 goals in the Premier League for Chelsea (68 goals, 37 assists) -- only Didier Drogba (159) and Frank Lampard (237) have been involved in more for the club.

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