Chelsea continued their sublime start to the Premier League season under new head coach Maurizio Sarri as they registered a fifth-straight victory.
The Blues were favourites to beat Cardiff City leading into the Stamford Bridge encounter and they did not disappoint as they secured a comfortable 4-1 triumph on Saturday.
Sol Bamba bagged a surprise opening goal for the Bluebirds after just 12 minutes on the clock but the match was thereafter one-sided with Eden Hazard stealing the show.
The Belgian gave the Blues a 2-1 lead at the break after a quick-fire brace and he continued to bag his hat-trick in the second half after converting a penalty in the 80th minute.
Willian completed the rout with another goal seven minutes from time and this ensured that the Blues leapfrogged Liverpool to the top of the table on goal difference.
Two things we learned:
Eden Hazard with a masterclass for Chelsea: Hazard has been simply sublime since the start of the Premier League campaign and his hat-trick versus Cardiff was his first in the Blues colours since 2014. Moreover, with the performance, he has also become the Premier League’s top-scorer with five goals in addition to his two assists and he has managed to contribute to the scoresheet in some form in each of the first five matches. Hazard was burdened with defensive duties under ex-boss Antonio Conte which restricted his influence upfront but with the change of management, he seems to have cut loose with Sarri offering him the license to remain higher up the field even when his side loss possession of the ball.
Olivier Giroud proving the perfect partner for Hazard: Giroud may be criticised for his lack of pace in the frontline but when it comes to the role of holding up play, few in the game are better than him at the moment. Against Cardiff, the Frenchman made the best use of his attributes to twice assist Hazard and the Belgian was certainly pleased with his efforts as he hailed him as the best target man in the world during the post-match interview. Sarri had been hesitant to play Giroud ahead of Alvaro Morata, who offers speed and mobility on the counter-attack but surely he should now claim a regular starting role in the Premier League in the Spaniard’s expense. Morata has notched just one league goal for the Blues this term when compared to Giroud, who has three assists to his name.
Image – Getty