Five things we learned as Chelsea beat West Ham to go 10 points clear

Goals from Eden Hazard and Diego Costa were enough to see off the Hammers

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Counter attack danger

Coiled in defence but all of a sudden the Blues strike like a viper and pierced through the West Ham defence. Three passes was all it took after N’Golo Kante’s interception and Pedro had sent Eden Hazard through. They could and should have had another towards the end of the first half as against the Hammers committed too many players forward to the attack and only an uncharacteristic poor touch from Diego Costa to allow the ball to get stuck under his feet broke the move down.

Hazard – player of the year?

Hazard’s skill, dribbling and exquisite finishing were plain to see throughout the game – as it has been all season – but perhaps what was most impressive was the Belgian’s workrate. Last season, Hazard looked lethargic, uninterested and unfit but this term he has been far from that. Hazard chased everything, included a 30 yard sprint just to prevent the ball going for a goal kick when all he could do was kick it for a throw in. It is that type of work which not only inspires the players around him but has Chelsea working together as a team as they have all season.

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Hazard brings the ball down on the touchline (Getty)

N’Golo Kante

Speaking of workrate and player of the season contenders… Kante was again at his sublime best at the London Stadium. His interception for the first goal and subsequent positive pass towards Hazard and Pedro set Chelsea ahead and he almost repeated the trick again before half time when he snapped at the heels of Mark Noble to win possession back deep in West Ham’s half. His constant harrying didn’t allow West Ham’s midfield a second’s rest on the ball – but then you knew that because he does it every week. Is he the Premier League’s most consistent performer?

West Ham focal point

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Carroll returned to the starting line up after injury (Getty)

Unlike earlier in the season when the Hammers were playing without a striker, Andy Carroll gives them not only an outlet but a direction for their attack. The understanding with those around him was off on the night – as shown when Aaron Cresswell opted for a low cross to the front post while Carroll was waiting for a header at the back – but that will come and Carroll’s goals of late have shown that West Ham are starting to function more efficiently.

London Stadium feeling more like home

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Fans arrive at the London Stadium (Getty)

Despite the scoreline, the Hammers are looking far more at home in Stratford than they were at the start of the season. The crowd were noisy and driving their side forward, especially for a period around the hour mark when West Ham were pushing hard for a goal which would have made it 2-1 with 30 minutes to go. West Ham at the start of the season would have folded when 2-0 at home to the champions elect, and the crowd would have been silently wishing they were back at the Boleyn Ground. If they can build on this atmosphere then it is clear that the players respond to it. 

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