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Premier League: Eden Hazard inspires Chelsea comeback against Newcastle United

The defending champions stormed back in style to go level with second-placed Manchester United!

SNS | New Delhi |

Dwight Gayle handed Newcastle United a shock lead but Chelsea stormed back thanks to a brace from star winger Eden Hazard to beat the Magpies 3-1 on Saturday at Stamford Bridge and go level with second-placed Manchester United in the Premier League table.

Gayle, who had scored the opener against the Red Devils in November, did the same against the defending champions after taking advantage of poor defending from Andreas Christensen and Marcos Alonso in the 12th minute.

Antonio Conte’s men, who have been beaten twice at home this season already, were stung into action and bombarded the Newcastle goal but thanks to some suspect referring from Kevin Friend and inspired goalkeeping from Karl Darlow, were kept at bay initially.

Christensen hit the post in the 20th minute as the Blues amped the pressure but they weren’t to be denied for long and it was Hazard who would score the equaliser in somewhat fortuitous fashion.
A Cezar Azpilicueta cross had fallen in his way and the Belgian’s first-time shot hit the ground before going into the back of the net and Chelsea would score a second soon after.

Alvaro Morata got on the end of a fizzing Victor Moses cross to head home from close range in the 33rd minute and at that stage, the only question that remained was how may goals would the hosts score.

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez, up against his old side, cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines but even the Spaniard would have had to admit his side were lucky not to have conceded more goals before the break.

Chelsea began the second-half in dominant fashion, looking to give themselves some breathing space but the visitors held firm as they defended deep.

While in the first-half they had shown some intent to attack, they were far more cautious in the second and the Blues, who were lead by Hazard, were stymied on a number of occasions.

Eventually, Chelsea got the third goal they craved. Moses, back in the team after a while was tripped by Matt Richie in the box and referee Kevin Friend pointed to the spot.
Hazard stepped up and cooly scored via a paneka effort to put the result of the game beyond doubt.

The Belgian would come close to scoring a second hat-trick for the Blues, but Darlow managed to prevent the winger from extending the Blues’ lead.

Chelsea, with their 10th win of the season, are now level on points with second-placed Manchester United, who have played a game less. Leaders Manchester City, also have a game in hand, are eight points ahead of United and Chelsea both.

United take on fourth-placed Arsenal later on Saturday in the highlight Premier League clash of the weekend while City host West Ham United on Sunday.