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Chelsea 3-1 Newcastle player ratings, stats and reaction: Eden Hazard takes finishing lessons from Mesut Ozil in MOTM display

Chelsea survived an early scare to beat Newcastle 3-1 at Stamford Bridge this afternoon, with goals from Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata sealing the three points.

The Magpies took an early lead as Dwight Gayle pounced on a bit of a defensive mix-up to slot in from close range, but they were in front for just nine minutes.

Hazard scuffed in the equaliser, and twelve minutes later the turnaround was complete as Morata headed in from Victor Moses’ cross.

Hazard then chipped in a penalty to make it 3-1 to more or less end the game as a contest, and these are our highlights from the early Premier League kick-off:

Man of the match

Chelsea forward Eden Hazard

Eden Hazard was key in Chelsea’s win over Newcastle today

Hazard was different class again, with his two goals superbly taken and ensuring a potential banana skin turned into a bit of a walk in the park.

The Belgian was at the heart of everything good Chelsea did, enjoying his new role up front alongside Morata in Antonio Conte’s 3-5-2 formation.

Remarkably, Hazard was so good he got a 9.9 rating on WhoScored.com before being taken off before the end of the game by Conte, preventing a possible perfect 10.

Flop of the match

Matt Ritchie had a particular nightmare for Newcastle throughout the game, and his error led to the rash challenge on Moses that forced the penalty for the third goal.

In fairness, Ritchie normally plays on the right-hand side of midfield for the Magpies, but had a go as a left wing-back today, and boy did it show…

Stat of the match

As well as being the leading scorer of headed goals in Europe’s top five leagues this season, Morata has already matched Diego Costa’s total tally of headers in his time at Chelsea.

Not bad for a player people thought might not be strong enough to compete with the tougher Premier League defenders after arriving from Real Madrid.

The Spain international has shown he isn’t scared to lead the line by example and get stuck in and win those crucial aerial battles.

Player ratings

Chelsea: Courtois 6, Rudiger 7, Christensen 7, Azpilicueta 7, Moses 8, Alonso 6, Kante 8, Drinkwater 6, Fabregas 8, Hazard 9, Morata 8 / Subs: Bakayoko 6, Cahill 6, Willian 6

Newcastle: Darlow 6, Mbemba 6, Clark 6, Lejeune 6, Manquillo 6, Ritchie 5, Diame 5, Merino 7, Murphy 6, Perez 6, Gayle 7 / Subs: Hayden 6, Shelvey 6, Yedlin 6

Reaction

One of the most curious things doing the rounds on Twitter during today’s match was some Arsenal fans accusing Hazard of stealing Mesut Ozil’s finishing technique for that equaliser.

The Blues winger hit the ball into the ground as it found its way into the back of the net, in not dissimilar fashion to Ozil’s strike against Huddersfield Town in midweek.

Is there anything to it? Who knows, but these Gooners believe Hazard’s been studying the technique before trying it out against Newcastle…

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