Chelsea cruised to a 3-1 victory against Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge, with Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata getting the goals for Antonio Conte’s men.
Rafa Benitez didn’t have the best return to Stamford Bridge. He would have gotten his hopes up when Dwight Gayle netted the opened in the 12th minute for his side. But that only gave Chelsea a sense of urgency and they took charge of the proceedings.
Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata found the back of the net within 12 minutes of each other and after the 33rd minutes, the Blues were in cruise control. Nothing much changed in the second half, and Victor Moses won the penalty that Hazard duly converted in the 74th minute to kill the game off.
Thibaut Courtois: 7
The Belgian was not at fault for the first goal and actually did well to prevent it from going in the first time. Besides that, had some routine saves to make. After the snoozefest he endured against Swansea, the Magpies didn’t really do too much to keep the Belgian active.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 7
Got back into the starting XI after being handed a rest vs Swansea. Yet another commanding performance from the Spaniard. Saw a lot of the ball and was the game’s most prolific passer. Wasn’t too troubled defensively and positioned himself well.
Andreas Christensen: 7
With each passing game, the Dane just shows how dependable he can be in the centre of defence. An easy, composed performance from the youngster and he was dominant in the air. Unlucky to not get his first goal tonight.
Antonio Rudiger: 7
Took some time to settle into the game, but later found his stride. Was good in the air and did well enough with his passing. Will be interesting to see if Conte trusts him enough to start him against Atletico Madrid ahead of Gary Cahill.
Victor Moses: 8
Setting up Alvaro Morata’s goal with a fantastic cross was a great way to mark his return to the starting XI after injury. Wasn’t too troubled defensively, made some key tackles, recovered possession for his side well and kept trying to get forward as much as possible.
Cesc Fabregas: 7
Couldn’t get an assist or a goal on the night, so will undoubtedly be disappointed. Contributed well defensively, making 4 good tackles. Put in a number of crosses, but his teammates couldn’t get on the end of all of them and also created more chances for his teammates than anyone else on the pitch.
N’golo Kante: 8
Another nearly faultless performance. Kante was the game’s most accurate distributor and didn’t have too much to do defensively given Chelsea had so much of the ball. Made some key interceptions, initiated attacks and screened the defence as well as ever.
Danny Drinkwater: 7
The former Leicester city man had another good outing in the middle of the park for the Blues. Distributed intelligently and didn’t try anything fancy. Tried to contribute going forward and his desperation to try and get a goal is evident. Conte will be pleased.
Marcos Alonso: 6
Alonso was at fault for Dwight Gayle’s opener. First by playing a silly back pass, and then failing to see Gayle standing right behind him, reacting too late to block the shot. After that he did well defensively, but didn’t attack too much.
Eden Hazard: 9
The Belgian was on fire on the night, putting in yet another superb performance. His first goal got his side back in the game and his second was a panenka penalty, which effectively killed the game for Rafa Benitez’s side.
Besides those well taken goals , Hazard was constantly having a go at the Newcastle players, completing 8 take ons, more than anyone else on the pitch even attempted. Taken off for Willian in the 78th minute to a well deserved standing ovation from Stamford Bridge.
Alvaro Morata: 8
The Spaniard scored a yet another fine headed goal, and this one gave his side the lead for the first time in the game. A constant menace for the Newcastle defence, he was perhaps a bit unlucky to not be awarded a penalty and win a few fouls. Another classy outing from the former Real Madrid man.