Chelsea nudged ahead of Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table as Eden Hazard’s hat-trick helped secure a come-from-behind 4-1 win over Cardiff City on Saturday.
The Belgium star needed just six first-half minutes to erase an early deficit and later returned to seal his treble from the spot as the hosts continued their perfect start to the new season.
Cardiff did fleetingly threaten an almighty upset thanks to Sol Bamba’s shock 16th-minute opener before Maurizio Sarri’s men took command on the way to a convincing fifth straight victory.
The in-form Hazard instigated a hasty turnaround that became a comfortable three points when Willian curled home seven minutes from the end, ensuring the Blues inched into top spot on goal difference.
Neil Warnock’s pre-match promise not to “shut-up shop” took shape when Bamba stunned an expectant Stamford Bridge crowd, prodding in defensive partner Sean Morrison’s header.
Neil Etheridge twice denied Mateo Kovacic an immediate response but could do little about Hazard’s unerring bottom-corner finish that restored parity.
The comeback was complete a minute before the break as Olivier Giroud’s gorgeous cushioned touch freed his team-mate to force a second in off Bamba at close range.
Cardiff remained in with a chance of extracting something from the match until substitute Willian arrived to end the resistance, first drawing a Bamba challenge that Hazard converted from the spot in the 80th minute, and then delightfully getting himself on the score sheet by picking out the top right corner three minutes later.
Highlight: WEST HAM UNITED 1 – 0 ARSENAL [PREMIER LEAGUE]
Declan Rice netted the winner as West Ham beat Arsenal in the Premier League, with Samir Nasri impressing on his league debut.
Samir Nasri impressed for West Ham as they claimed a 1-0 Premier League victory over his former club Arsenal at London Stadium on Saturday.
Nasri was making his Premier League debut for the club as he continues his comeback from an 18-month ban for receiving an intravenous treatment at a Los Angeles clinic in December 2016, contravening World Anti-Doping Agency rules.
Highlight: Manchester United 1 – 0 Young Boys [Champions League]
Manchester United secured their place in the last 16 of the Champions League when Marouane Fellaini secured a 1-0 win over Young Boys with a dramatic goal in injury time.
Jose Mourinho’s team laboured with the Swiss champions at Old Trafford throughout the match and seemed to be opting for a second goalless consecutive draw at home until Fellaini’s intelligent finish it of.
In fact, it could have been worse for United if David de Gea had not shown an overwhelming response, except to prevent a deflection off substitute Ulisses Garcia in the second half.
The result, paired with Valencia’s 1-0 loss to Juventus, means the Red Devils, together with the Italians, now book a place in the knockout phase with one match left.
Highlight: Liverpool 1 – 2 Chelsea [EFL Cup]
Eden Hazard came off the bench to score a wonderful winner as Chelsea battled from behind to beat Liverpool 2-1 in the EFL Cup third round, the Reds seeing their winning streak end at Anfield.
Liverpool led thanks to Daniel Sturridge’s acrobatic effort, with Jurgen Klopp’s men seeking to extend their victorious run at the start of 2018-19 to eight games despite resting Mohamed Salah.
Hazard was also on the bench, but Chelsea’s talisman made a telling impact following his introduction to deliver the free-kick that led to Emerson Palmieri’s 79th-minute equaliser before netting a stunning solo strike with five minutes left.
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