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Chelsea get past Brighton thanks to Hazard magic


Chelsea get past Brighton thanks to Hazard magic

Chelsea beat Brighton & Hove Albion Albion 2-1 at the Amex Stadium on Sunday (Dec 16), thanks largely to a magical first half performance from Eden Hazard.

For the second consecutive league game, Blues boss Maurizio Sarri started without a recognised striker with Alvaro Morata ruled out through injury and Olivier Giroud named as a substitute.

But with Hazard in such fine form, the visitors still posed a real threat in attack and they raced into a two-goal lead at the break. The Belgian set up Pedro for the opener and then tucked home a goal of his own as Chelsea were two up just after the half hour mark.

His torment of Brighton was only halted when he was forced off with an injury in the second-half.

At that stage the complexion of the game had entirely changed as Chelsea switched off and a resurgent Brighton got back into it thanks to a goal from Solly March.

And the hosts were left incensed when last-man Marcos Alonso only received a yellow card for pulling down March and appearing to deny the Brighton forward a clear goalscoring opportunity.

The home team failed to capitalise on their momentum, however, and with victory fourth-placed Chelsea go back to within two points of London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in third. Brighton remain 13th.

KEY STATS

* Eden Hazard has been directly involved in more Premier League goals this season (17 in 16 appearances) than he was in the whole of last season (16 in 34 appearances).

* The Belgian has provided more assists in league competition than any other player in the top five European Leagues in 2018-19 with nine.

* Chelsea have won all seven of their league games against Brighton by an aggregate score of 14-2.

* Brighton are still looking for their first victory over Chelsea in any competition since 1933, when they won 2-1 in the FA Cup third round.

* Kepa Arrizabalaga has not kept consecutive league clean sheets since August 2017 for Athletic Club in La Liga.

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