Chelsea 3 Newcastle 0 match report: Jose Mourinho falls in love as Eden Hazard lights up the Bridge - Premier League - Football - The Independent

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.

Line-ups:

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.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week