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EPL: Hazard scores 100th goal for Chelsea in slim victory against Watford

Eden Hazard scored twice as Chelsea gained a hard-fought win at Watford to reclaim fourth place in the Premier League table.

The Belgian opened the scoring when he collected Mateo Kovacic’s pass, took the ball around goalkeeper Ben Foster and calmly finished for his 100th Blues goal.

Chelsea’s lead only lasted two minutes until Roberto Pereyra volleyed past Kepa Arrizabalaga from the edge of the 18-yard box.

But Hazard grabbed his second of the match in the second half when he converted a penalty after Foster had bundled him over.

Chelsea had dropped to fifth when Arsenal drew at Brighton earlier on Wednesday, but this result takes Maurizio Sarri’s side back to fourth, 11 points behind leaders Liverpool.

It was a return to winning ways for the Blues after they suffered a surprise 1-0 loss at home to Leicester City on Saturday.

Hazard, who joined Chelsea for £32m from Lille in June 2012, became only the 10th man to reach 100 goals in all competitions for the club when he put the visitors ahead in the first minute of injury time at the end of the first half.
It came after Watford’s Etienne Capoue sloppily gave the ball away near the halfway line.

That enabled Kovacic to break forward before releasing Hazard, and the Belgium international did well to go around Foster and score his 10th Premier League goal of the season.

After Watford had equalised, Hazard’s 101st club goal came in the 58th minute as he sent Foster the wrong way from the spot after the former England goalkeeper bundled him over in the penalty area.

Hazard’s quality proved to be the difference as Sarri again opted to use the two-time Premier League title winner as a ‘false nine’, with Alvaro Morata injured and Olivier Giroud, who has only scored one Premier League goal in 15 appearances in 2018-19, among the substitutes.

Chelsea had further opportunities as N’Golo Kante raced onto Hazard’s through ball but could only drag his effort wide. Willian also was unlucky not to add a third for the visitors, when his 20-yard strike rebounded off the outside of the post.

The only negatives for Chelsea were a hamstring injury for Pedro with the man who replaced him, 18-year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi, also going off late on. (BBC)

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