Chelsea recovered from an early setback to batter Cardiff City 4-1 at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.
- Chelsea 4 Cardiff City 1
- Bamba opens scoring
- Hazard hat-trick puts hosts ahead
- Willian rounds out the scoring
Cardiff took advantage of some wasteful Chelsea finishing by grabbing the lead through Sol Bamba in the 16th minute.
However, after that it was almost all Chelsea as Hazard bagged a hat-trick (37′, 44′, 80′) before William rounded out a resounding win in the 83rd minute.
The hosts began the game well and seemed to be running circles around Cardiff, creating chances at will. Unfortunately Olivier Giroud’s finishing was not up to the same standard as he blew two good chances early on.
The Welsh side then made him pay from a 16th-minute set-piece. James Morrison nodded a long free-kick down towards Bamba in the six-yard box and the Ivorian defender made no mistake from close range to give his team a surprise 1-0 lead.
The Blues almost responded instantly with Mateo Kovacic forcing a brilliant save out of Neil Etheridge less than 60 seconds later.
They applied near constant pressure on the visitors in search of an equaliser but were constantly let down by their finishing. Pedro missed the mark with three chances and there were further misses from Giroud and Marcus Alonso.
However, the west Londoners were creating too much for something not to give eventually and they managed to get the breakthrough in the 37th minute. Giroud turned provider as he played a nice one-two with Hazard to create space for the Belgian to slide the ball into the bottom corner.
They did not take their foot off the gas and grabbed the lead just seven minutes later. Pedro caught Cardiff out with a quickly-taken free-kick, cutting the ball back for Giroud, who picked out Hazard once again with a beautiful first-time pass and the playmaker finished easily from close range.
Cardiff began the second half positively and created a couple of half chances to remind Chelsea that they were going to be no pushovers with Bobby Reid and Joe Ralls both flashing shots wide.
Pedro and Giroud obviously left their shooting boots at home and they both blew further chances as the hosts answered the Bluebirds’ aggression.
Neil Warnock’s men were playing at an incredibly high intensity trying to get back into the game so it was no surprise that they ran out of steam towards the end.
A lazy challenge by Bamba on Willian in the box in the 81st minute allowed Hazard to complete his hat-trick before Willian took advantage of all the space he was being given to launch a lovely curling shot just inside the far post just two minutes later to suddenly make it 4-1.