Chelsea go third, three points clear of Arsenal in fifth

Eden Hazard scored one of the goals of the Premier League season as Chelsea beat West Ham to climb above Tottenham and Arsenal into third spot in the race for a Champions League place.

Hazard, who continues to be strongly linked to Real Madrid, picked up the ball on the turn 45 yards out, evading five players during the stunning run, before the Belgium forward calmly (24) beat Łukasz Fabiański.

Photo Source: Premier League

Gonzalo Higuain hit a post soon after, while Hazard was denied a penalty after what looked like a foul by Marko Arnautovic, with Argentine midfielder Manuel Lanzini going closest for West Ham with a shot which was beaten away by Kepa Arrizabalaga.

The second-half was a bit tougher for the hosts as West Ham came back into the game, with Arrizabalaga being forced into another couple of good saves. With what was looking to be a tense end to the game, Chelsea made sure of the win and three points after Hazard doubled his tally with a calm, placed finish into the far bottom corner (90), from a perfectly weighted Ross Barkley pass.

The result means Chelsea have a three-point cushion over Arsenal in fifth, although they have played a game more. West Ham stay in 11th, five points off the top seven.

This was the best performance from Maurizio Sarri’s side so far this season. No question.

Match Statistics

Possession (%) – Chelsea 54%, West Ham 46%
Shots – Chelsea 16, West Ham 9
Shots on Target – Chelsea 7, West Ham 2
Corners – Chelsea 7, West Ham 4
Fouls – Chelsea 8, West Ham 7
Offsides – Chelsea 3, West Ham 1
Yellow/Red Cards – Chelsea 2/0, West Ham 1/0

(Bonus Stat) 28 – Eden Hazard has been directly involved in more Premier League goals than any other player this season (16 goals, 12 assists).

Post-Match Thoughts

• Great result, great team performance.
• Hazard was simply sublime.
• Loftus-Cheek bossed West Ham throughout.
• CHO had a mixed game, but that’s fine as he’ll learn from tonight.
• Confidence flowing through the team right now.
• This is SarriBall.

Chelsea Player/Manager Ratings

Starting XI
Kepa – 8, Helped us in the second-half with a couple of crucial saves. Showed composure and brilliant mentality. Booked.
Azpilicueta – 7, Solid defensive display tonight, which was good to see. Booked.
Rudiger – 7, A much-improved outing from the German after his horror-show against Cardiff. Good to see.
David Luiz – 7, Repeated his good performance from Brighton in tonight’s game which was helpful. Will be needed again come Sunday.
Emerson – 8, An impressive outing from our Italian left-back. Has to be our main LB now, surely?
Kanté – 7, Offered enough both in defence and going forward to be rewarded with being deemed to have a good performance. He simply never stops.
Jorginho – 8, Another great performance from the much-criticised player. His contribution tonight will definitely go under the radar again.
Whisper it, though. Jorginho praise is still considered a taboo in these parts… SSSSH.
Loftus-Cheek – 9, Brilliant performance from the England International. Bossed the midfield from the get-go and never gave West Ham a moment’s rest. Thoroughly deserved his standing ovation when coming off.
Hudson-Odoi – 7, Good first half but an average second half from the youngster. That’s to be expected from him at the moment though so not concerned. He’ll learn and benefit from this ‘mixed’ performance in the long-term.
Higuaín – 6, Put in the hard work and effort that is expected from any player, but the pace of tonight’s game clearly gave him issues. With that said, unfortunate to not have at least one goal, if not two.
Hazard – 10, MOTM. Simply breathtaking. West Ham’s defence must have wished he was a Real Madrid player right now. Best player in the Premier League and one of the three best in the world… no question.

Substitutions
Barkley (70′ for Loftus-Cheek) – 7
Giroud (77′ for Higuaín) – 6
Pedro (85′ for Hudson-Odoi) – 6

All three substitutes gave others a much-needed rest when coming on, which helped keep the team stay solid and towards the much-deserved win and clean sheet. A nice bonus from Barkley with the assist for hazard’s second goal.

Manager
Maurizio Sarri – 9, An almost perfect night for the Head Coach. Great choice of a starting line-up and set up the team fantastically from a tactical perspective. More of the same please boss!

Terry Sazio