MX23RW : Thursday, May 23 03:37:34| >> :600:18083490:18083490:
Sep 15, 2018 at 3pm UK at ​Stamford Bridge
Attendance: 40,499
Chelsea
4-1
CardiffCardiff City
Hazard (37', 44', 80' pen.), Willian (83')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Bamba (16')

Result: Eden Hazard hat-trick sinks Cardiff City at Stamford Bridge

Eden Hazard scores his second hat-trick for Chelsea as the Blues maintain their perfect Premier League start with a 4-1 home win over Cardiff City.

Eden Hazard scored a hat-trick to maintain Chelsea's perfect start to the Premier League season, as they overcome Cardiff City 4-1 at Stamford Bridge in Saturday afternoon's clash.

The Belgian international netted twice in the first half to cancel out Sol Bamba's shock opener, before converting from the penalty spot 10 minutes from time to kill off the match.

Having trailed for the first time this season, the Blues showed good character to hold off Cardiff and added a late fourth through substitute Willian, lifting them above Liverpool at the top of the standings on goal difference.

Eden Hazard celebrates getting his side's first during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Cardiff City on September 15, 2018© Reuters

Maurizio Sarri's only change from the 2-0 win over Bournemouth would prove a decisive one as Olivier Giroud - in for the benched Alvaro Morata - played a key part in both of Chelsea's first-half goals.

That was after the visitors had taken a surprise lead 16 minutes in, as Sol Bamba flicked Sean Morrison's diagonal header past a helpless Kepa Arrizabalaga from five yards out.

Giroud headed onto the roof of the net from a promising position shortly before that Cardiff opener, but better chances would fall the way of Pedro and Mateo Kovacic immediately after the restart.

Neil Etheridge was equal to both efforts, producing a fine stop in particular to thwart Kovacic down low when the Croatian midfielder was played clean through.

Another chance would come and go for Pedro, who this time skied the ball unmarked from eight yards out, but Chelsea's pressure would eventually tell.

Sol Bamba celebrates his shock opener during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Cardiff City on September 15, 2018© Reuters

Hazard scored his first of the afternoon 37 minutes in when exchanging passes with Giroud and drilling the ball across Etheridge into the bottom corner, before tucking home a second via a deflection ahead the interval after being teed up by Giroud from closer range.

Cardiff were dealt a blow for the start of the second half as Harry Arter failed to recover from a knock, while Kovacic soldiered on for five minutes before being replaced by Ross Barkley.

Chelsea were unable to get out of first gear for large parts of the second period, taking until the hour mark before registering their next shot through Pedro.

With just the one goal in it with a little over a quarter of the match to play, the Blues - who had nine regulars away on international duty last week - were unable to truly relax.

Eden Hazard scores the Blues' second during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Cardiff City on September 15, 2018© Reuters

Bobby Reid curled a shot agonisingly wide of the far post after cutting inside David Luiz, but Cardiff could not create any further clear-cut opportunities.

Instead, Hazard completed his hat-trick by sending Etheridge the wrong way from the penalty spot, after Bamba brought down Willian inside the box, and the Brazilian substitute rounded off the scoring with a long-range curler.

A Kepa save from Callum Paterson's header meant a comfortable conclusion to the match for Chelsea, and a third successive 4-1 defeat here for the Bluebirds in all competitions.

CHELSEA (4-3-3): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Jorginho, Kante, Kovacic (Barkley 50'); Pedro (Willian 68'), Giroud, Hazard (Zappacosta 84')

CARDIFF CITY (4-4-2): Etheridge; Manga, Bamba, Morrison, Bennett; Camarasa, Ralls, Arter (Richards 46'), Hoilett; Ward (Madine 77'), Reid (Paterson 71')

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Chelsea's Pedro celebrates scoring against Bournemouth during their Premier League clash on September 1, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City38322495237298
2Liverpool38307189226797
3Chelsea38219863392472
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs382321367392871
5Arsenal382171073512270
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd381991065541166
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38169134746157
8Everton38159145446854
9Leicester CityLeicester38157165148352
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham38157165255-352
11Watford38148165259-750
12Crystal Palace38147175153-249
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle38129174248-645
14Bournemouth38136195670-1445
15Burnley38117204568-2340
16Southampton38912174565-2039
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3899203560-2536
RCardiff CityCardiff38104243469-3534
RFulham3875263481-4726
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3837282276-5416

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