Chelsea cruised to a comfortable 4-1 win against Cardiff City after some initial doubts were dispelled by a magnificent performance by Eden Hazard.
Cardiff started the game impressively, holding Chelsea at bay with some staunch defending. They took a surprising lead as well when Sol Bamba pounced in the box after a set piece. Neil Warnock’s side found themselves in a rare situation, defending a lead at one of the elite sides.
Mateo Kovacic had two great chances to open his account for Chelsea, but Neil Etheridge denied him on both occasions. But the home side levelled soon after Hazard linked up well with Olivier Giroud to score with an astute finish.
Chelsea took the lead before half-time, and it was Hazard again. Popping up in the right place, the Belgian’s deflected effort beat Etheridge and Stamford Bridge was a happy place at the interval.
But the Welsh outfit were alive in the second half, as Bobby Reid came close to making it 2-2. Ultimately Chelsea’s bench proved to be the telling point, as Willian came on to great effect.
He tumbled in the box under Bamba’s challenge to earn a penalty, one which Hazard dispatched with aplomb. The Brazilian then capped off the win with a stunning curling effort to make it 4-1.
The Bluebirds caused them some problems, but the Blues and Eden Hazard romped to an impressive win to go top of the league.
Hazard leading Sarri’s charge
Eden Hazard has five goals and two assists to his name in the Premier League, and he has started two of the five games on the bench. The Belgian is at the top of his game at the moment and is arguably playing under the most attacking manager during his time in London.
Sarri’s expressive football philosophy is quite popular, and Hazard seems to have lost no time settling in. Chelsea have won all their games, scoring plenty of goals albeit while looking somewhat shaky at the back.
But their attack has been brilliant, and Cardiff bore the full brunt today. Hazard was everywhere, linking up well with Giroud and roaming all over the final third to deadly effect.
It is looking like this season will be Hazard’s best at Stamford Bridge, which is an ominous sign for the rest of the league.
Giroud impresses in his first start
Sarri had persisted with Alvaro Morata in the first four games but opted for the Frenchman this time around. It proved to be a fruitful decision, as Giroud assisted the first two goals and combined well with his fellow attackers, especially Hazard.
Giroud’s strength and link-up play are two of his strongest attributes, and he used both of them effectively against Cardiff. Morata did not wholly impress in his spell, failing to provide any kind of spark up front.
Giroud is definitely a different type of player, but one who should be considered ahead of the Spaniard based on today’s performance.
Signs are bleak for Cardiff despite a commendable performance
Cardiff have collected a meagre two points from their opening five games, both of which have been goalless draws. Truth be told, they put in gutsy performances against both Arsenal and Chelsea, but lost both the games, conceding seven goals in the process.
Their defence is the Welsh side’s strongest aspect, one which compensated for a weak attack. Set pieces remain their major attacking threat, a fact which was painfully visible at Stamford Bridge.
Cardiff were quite impressive in the first half hour, but they could not maintain that level until the full-time whistle. Both the manager and players lack any noteworthy Premier League experience, and they have much work to do before their first win, let alone think about survival.
Neil Warnock certainly has his work cut out for him
Man of the Match: Eden Hazard
No surprises, right? The Belgian was magnificent, scoring a hat-trick to inspire his side to victory. Chelsea are the best team in the land as of now, and will unquestionably be challenging for the Premier League title.