Chelsea 3-0 West Brom
EDEN HAZARD scored two brilliant goals to boost under-fire Chelsea manager Antonio Conte and plunge West Brom deeper into the relegation mire.
The mercurial Belgian rode a couple of challenges, took a return ball from Olivier Giroud and planted a superb shot into the corner to give the Blues a 25th-minute lead.
Victor Moses’ fine first-time finish made it two just after the hour when the ball was deflected into his path.
And Hazard scored a majestic third, rifling a 20-yard shot into the top corner to lift the gloom after consecutive defeats to Bournemouth and Watford which had led to reports of internal unrest at Stamford Bridge.
Conte’s future still appears to be in jeopardy but Hazard was once again in imperious form as he took his tally of Premier League goals for the season to 11.
The scoreline was harsh on the Baggies, who started brightly despite losing Daniel Sturridge to a hamstring injury after just three minutes.
They might have had a penalty when Cesc Fabregas clattered into Jay Rodriguez early on and the striker also dragged a shot wide as the visitors dominated the early exchanges. The Blues grew into the game and Ben Foster made fine saves to deny Davide Zappacosta and Giroud before Hazard’s goals settled their nerves.
Giroud was in the wars before the break, first being bandaged after taking a blow to the head, then needing treatment after a foul by Jonny Evans.
West Brom still posed a threat after the interval and had two great chances to equalise in quick succession.
First, Salomon Rondon stole the ball from Andreas Christensen only to be denied by Thibaut Courtois’ splendid save and, from the resulting corner, Evans headed just off target.
But two quickfire goals knocked the stuffing out of them and Foster made a flying save to deny substitute Alvaro Morata a fourth goal.
Hazard told Sky Sports: ‘The most important thing has been to be together. Today we showed great character.’
Daniel’s in pain as he limps off
DANIEL STURRIDGE suffered yet another injury last night as he went off after three minutes at Stamford Bridge. West Brom’s on-loan striker (pictured) went down under pressure from Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta but was unable to continue because of an apparent hamstring injury and was replaced early on by Jay Rodriguez.
Sturridge joined the Baggies from Liverpool last month, hoping for the games and goals he needs to force his way into England’s World Cup squad. The setback will come as a blow to the 28-year-old, who has been plagued by injuries and who has managed just six starts this term.