Premier League - Moment of genius from Hazard as Chelsea go top

Premier League, KC Stadium – Hull City 0 Chelsea 2 (Hazard 56 Torres 87)

A moment of individual brilliance from Eden Hazard helped Chelsea to a 2-0 victory over Hull City to send them top of the Premier League for at least 24 hours.

Yannick Sagbo spurned a huge opportunity to edge Hull ahead shortly before the half hour when he lashed wide after John Terry’s sloppy pass was closed down by Jake Livermore.

At the other end an even better chance to break the deadlock went the way of the visitors, as Oscar’s close-range effort was somehow tipped over the bar by a wonder save from Allan McGregor.

Chelsea improved after the break and scored the opening goal when Ashley Cole’s clever flick released Hazard, with the Belgian evading several defenders as he ran across the hosts’ penalty area before firing a low shot into the bottom corner.

Hull struggled to create anything of note, and their miserable second-half was compounded when Fernando Torres - who had been completely anonymous throughout the match - marked his 200th Premier League appearance by sliding home a late second.

[MATCHCAST - Full match commentary and stats]

KEY MOMENTS

PRE-MATCH – Juan Mata benched. He’s got to leave, hasn’t he? Mata takes his place on the Chelsea bench again with Jose Mourinho electing for an attacking midfield trio of Willian, Oscar and Eden Hazard.

25’ – CHANCE - John Terry's sloppy pass is charged down and bobbles into the path of Sagbo. The striker has a crack... Wide! Massive chance wasted. If Hull go on to lose, which is a probable outcome, they will not want to see that again.

33’ – CHANCE: Hazard embarks on a mazy run down the left and cuts the ball back into the path of Oscar. The Brazilian must score... McGregor gambles and flings himself to his right. What. A. Save. Ridiculous goalkeeping.

56’ – GOAL: Hull 0-1 Chelsea. Hazard picks the ball up and dribbles across the edge of the penalty area. He feigns a shot, which sends a poor Hull defender hurtling to the turf, before unleashing a clever effort into the bottom corner. Great goal. Pop yourself back on the bench, Mata...

87’ – GOAL: Hull 0-2 Chelsea. Torres glides past Bruce and smashes it inside the near post of McGregor's goal. He's barely done anything this afternoon, although that is partly down to a lack of service, but the Spaniard comes up with the goods when it matters on his 200th Premier League appearance.

KEY STATS

Petr Cech becomes the first Premier League goalkeeper to keep 150 clean sheets in the competition for just one club – David James’ 170 was split amongst five clubs, with Liverpool (72 clean sheets) his most for one side. (Infostrada)

Hull have won just three Premier League points from losing positions this season – only Crystal Palace, Sunderland & West Ham (all one) have won fewer. (Infostrada)

Chelsea make their 63rd substitution of the season, more than any other team. They are the only team to use all three substitutes in every Premier League game this season. (Infostrada)

Eden Hazard scored his ninth Premier League goal of the season, the same amount that he netted for the club last season. (Infostrada)

TALKING POINT

Are Chelsea one striker short in their title challenge? He might have bagged himself a goal, but Fernando Torres was largely anonymous against Hull. With Manchester City looking increasingly formidable, surely Chelsea’s best hopes of staying in the title race are to invest in a reliable striker pronto.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Eden Hazard (Chelsea): The only one of Chelsea’s attacking contingent to look threatening on a consistent basis. His fine solo goal set the Blues on their way.

PLAYER RATINGS

Hull: McGregor 7, Chester 6, Bruce 6, Davies 6, Elmohamady 6, Figueroa 6, Meyler 6, Huddlestone 6, Livermore 7, Boyd 6, Sagbo 6… Subs: Koren 6, Fryatt 6, Quinn 6.

Chelsea: Cech 6, Azpilicueta 6, Cahill 6, Terry 6, Cole 6, Ramires 6, David Luiz 6, Willian 6, Oscar 6, Hazard 7, Torres 6… Subs: Mikel 6, Schurrle N/A, Essien N/A.

THE MATCH IN A TWEET