Chelsea 3 Newcastle 0 match report: Jose Mourinho falls in love as Eden Hazard lights up the Bridge

The Chelsea manager waxes lyrical about the Belgian, after his hat-trick sinks Newcastle

Stamford Bridge

It’s not Valentine’s Day yet, and the love affair between Jose Mourinho and Eden Hazard is approaching unbridled, lilac-scented Mills & Boon infatuation. Who needs Belgian chocolates when you have a Belgian footballer with pretensions to be the best on the planet?

Chelsea moved to the top of the Premier League courtesy of Hazard’s first hat-trick for the club. Mourinho, who had set the tone by suggesting Hazard was the natural successor to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, was in no mood to temper his praise.

“Eden has had a big evolution” he said. “He is playing with consistency and ambition. His level today was not different from other performances this season, other than the fact he scored. You can’t hide at the top of the League, but individually he is in a very good moment.”

Hazard has been reprogrammed, recalibrated. He acknowledges he has been transformed into a more tactically aware, team-focused player by a manager who is “very close” to his players. A lot closer than the Newcastle defence got to him at Stamford Bridge, when he became only the fourth player to score three times in a Premier League match this season.

Hazard had effectively decided the game by half-time, with two goals of similar quality but distinctive style. He completed only his second senior hat trick – the first was for Lille – 18 minutes after the interval by calmly converting a penalty given at the behest of linesman Darren Cann, who noticed Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa rugby tackling Samuel Eto’o in an off the ball incident.

Hazard has now scored 12 Premier League goals, 14 in total, this season. Chelsea have overhauled Arsenal with little apparent effort, and will approach Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Manchester City with impressive resolve and jaunty confidence.

You get what you pay for, and the value of investments is relative. If anyone can appear a bargain at £32 million, Hazard can. Mourinho was irritated by Chelsea’s initial diffidence, but visibly relaxed once when the Belgian began and finished the move which led to them taking a 27th-minute lead.

He advanced with trademark pace and control after a sharp turn, feeding Branislav Ivanovic on the right with a diagonal pass before sweeping in the full back’s squared return ball. Chelsea’s second goal, six minutes later, was simply sumptuous.

It started from a corner, conceded when Moussa Sissoko wasted Newcastle’s best chance of the match with a heavy touch which allowed Petr Cech to parry his shot. It flowed the length of the pitch through David Luiz, Willian and Hazard before the Belgian continued his run on to a back-heeled flick by Eto’o.

The sidefooted finish was a formality. “Real class” acknowledged Newcastle manager Alan Pardew. “He is at the top of his game. This is a great platform for him, but his work rate, in fact everything about him, was excellent.”

As for Mourinho, the fire is back in the old rascal’s eyes, even if his analogies require a little work. All that nonsense about horses, milk and the comparative sizes of nags in the Premier League is just Mourinho clearing his throat. He promised, with a smile, “the horse is dead”.

It was an indication of Newcastle’s limited threat that he indulged himself beforehand, by borrowing one of Fergie’s most under-rated weapons – theatrical sympathy. His friendship with Pardew ensured he was respectful, rather than scornful after another extension of the pantomime season at St James’ Park.

The travelling fans massed in the right hand corner of the Shed, singing songs of unrequited love and loyalty. At the risk of spoiling a fine romance with cold, hard statistics, a summary of the respective clubs’ transfer dealings over the last five years explained the venom directed at Newcastle owner Mike Ashley.

The sale of Yohan Cabaye means Newcastle are £45m in profit, the most in the Premier League. Only Manchester City have amassed a bigger deficit than Chelsea, who have suffered a net loss of £282m.

Mourinho was able to introduce Egypt international Mohammed Salah, at £15m the latest player to embody the largesse of Roman Abramovich, for the last 12 minutes. He has City where he wants them, on the back foot.

He scents weaknesses, not just in the way he imposed himself tactically in last Monday’s coaching duel at the Etihad, but personally. If Manuel Pellegrini really is serious about taking the Chelsea manager on in psychological warfare, he is using a peashooter against a tank.

Mourinho, the master of the subliminal statement and the coded message, is in his element. Despite dismissing Chelsea’s status as new title favourites, he knows the League is winnable. So do his players. Love is in the air, down at the Bridge.


Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, Luiz, Cahill, Azpilicueta; Matic, Lampard; Ramires, Willian (Salah, 78), Oscar, Hazard (Schurrle, 85); Eto’o (Ba, 71).

Newcastle (4-4-1-1): Krul; Debuchy (Yanga-Mbiwa, 40), Williamson, S Taylor, Santon; Dummett, Anita (Marveaux, 85), Sissoko, Ben Arfa (Gosling, 64); Sammy Ameobi; De Jong.

Referee Howard Webb.

Man of the match Hazard (Chelsea).

Match rating 7/10.

Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly finalists Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge
tvLive: Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridgeface-off in the final
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value

Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas