Hazard lights up Chelsea procession


CHELSEA boss Roberto Di Matteo hailed Eden Hazard as the man to rejuvenate the Blues after the £32m summer signing inspired the west Londoners to a comfortable victory in their Premier League opener.

Playmaker Hazard released full-back Branislav Ivanovic to open the scoring after just two minutes and then won a penalty, converted by midfielder Frank Lampard, as the visitors wrapped up the win inside seven minutes.

The Belgian was lured from Lille over the summer as Di Matteo attempts to marry some flair with the resilience and organisation that saw them claim a surprise Champions League triumph three months ago.

“He showed all his quality, he was outstanding,” said the Chelsea boss. “He combined very well with his team-mates, was a threat – exactly what we were looking for. He’s got great technical ability. He’s got a burst of pace as well, he can play with his back to goal, and he’s got a lot that he can bring to our team.”

Hazard’s first act was to collect a pass from Lampard and turn Wigan defender Ivan Ramis in one elegant movement, before spraying a finely weighted pass into the path of the marauding Ivanovic. The powerful Serbian defender charged unhindered into the penalty area and slotted in at the near post, after goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi had offered him an easy target by going to ground far too early.

Five minutes later, Hazard’s trickery earned Chelsea’s second goal. Again Ramis was the victim, the Spanish centre-back clumsily barging him to the ground just inside the penalty area. Lampard’s spot-kick skimmed just underneath Al-Habsi but was strong enough to beat him.

Ramis redeemed himself by clearing off the line from Fernando Torres, while Chelsea target Victor Moses did his best to rile his suitors.