Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal: Eden Hazard wonder strike sends Blues closer to the title

Eden Hazard scored a memorable solo goal as Chelsea moved a step closer to winning the Premier League with a 3-1 victory over Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

The Blues led 1-0 at half-time thanks to Marcos Alonso's header, however, it was Hazard's 53rd-minute strike that brought the house down in west London.
The Belgian beat several Arsenal players during a run that started inside his own half before beating Petr Cech, who gifted Cesc Fabregas a third with a poor clearance.
The visitors managed a late consolation through Olivier Giroud's late header, with Chelsea now 12 points clear of their title rivals, although Tottenham can close that gap if they beat Middlesbrough this evening.
Antonio Conte, who had a full-strength squad to pick from, made just the one change from the Chelsea team that drew 1-1 at Liverpool in midweek, with Pedro replacing Willian in midfield.
Meanwhile, opposite number Arsene Wenger brought in Hector Bellerin, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott to the team that surprisingly lost at home loss to Watford on Tuesday night.
However, Bellerin only lasted 17 minutes before being substituted with a facial injury picked up trying to prevent Alonso heading Chelsea in front.
The Blues' opener came after Victor Moses released Pedro down the right, with the Spaniard swinging in an inviting cross that Diego Costa thumped against the bar, before Alonso beat Bellerin to the rebound to head home his fourth league goal of the season.
The Arsenal right back was replaced by Gabriel, although the Brazilian endured a torrid start to his game as Chelsea looked to exploit the new man, and they very nearly did just past the half-hour mark after Alonso found Pedro just inside the box, only for Cech to deny the forward.
Gradually, though, the visitors began to gain a foothold in proceedings and really should have drawn level seven minutes before half-time after working a short corner between Mesut Ozil and Oxlade-Chamberlain.
But after the latter's chipped ball into the box had picked out the unmarked Gabriel six yards out, Thibaut Courtois came to Chelsea's rescue by beating clear the right back's header.
That close call appeared to give the Gunners a much-needed lift after a tough first quarter of the match, and they finished the half strongly as Ozil tested Courtois with a low shot at his near post.
However, whatever Wenger may have said to his players at the interval was soon forgotten as Hazard doubled the home side's lead with one of the goals of the season.
The diminutive playmaker, who was substituted at Anfield after a rare off night, picked up possession inside his own half and then embarked on a mesmeric solo run that took him past Laurent Koscielny, Francis Coquelin - who was left chasing shadows - and then the Arsenal captain again, before driving the ball past Cech from close range.
Wenger - watching the game from the stands as a result of the four-match ban imposed on the Frenchman for pushing a fourth official against Burnley - reacted to that strike by introducing the attacking threats of Giroud and Danny Welbeck.
And it was the England forward who came close to pulling a goal back with 12 minutes remaining, only for Courtois to stretch to claw his header behind for a corner, from which Shkodran Mustafi also almost scored from, but the German's header flashed inches past the near post.
However, to complete Arsenal's misery, their former midfielder Fabregas added a third goal with just five minutes to go after Cech made a hash of clearing his lines after a throw in, with the Spaniard lobbing the 'keeper from 30 yards out.
The visitors did manage a late consolation as Giroud headed home Nacho Monreal's cross from the left, despite Courtois getting a firm hand to it, but their five-year wait for a league win at Chelsea goes on after a fifth straight loss at the Bridge.
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Source: All Football

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