This wasn't the best Chelsea performance of the season, not by a long shot. But what they had in Eden Hazard was a player of such skill and in such form, that he was really all they needed to end up winning 3-0.
Hazard shone for the Blues, scoring two outstanding first half strikes before completing his treble with a penalty after the break, and for much of the game his teammates were happy to play the supporting cast to his undeniable talent.
Mohamed Salah came on for his debut late on and looked a threat, but it was Hazard that had the show well and truly stolen.
Petr Cech 7.5/10 - Was called into action a few times with shots on goal before Hazard scored, and made an important save between the first two goals, as Sissoko burst through on to goal. Dealt well with what were mostly half chances and long range strikes at his goal.
Branislav Ivanovic 7/10 - Great pass for Hazard's goal but was sloppy as he let Sissoko through just after. Was better coming forward than he was in defence.
Cesar Azpilicueta 7/10 - Very much in control of the left back spot for Chelsea. Continues to produce impressive performances without making mistakes, and is always willing to burst forward and join the attack.
Gary Cahill 7/10 - Cahill is looking more and more like the first choice central defender for Chelsea now, and is exuding confidence and authority as a result. Was the best of the Chelsea rearguard.
David Luiz 7/10 - The Chelsea back four look a much more solid unit with Luiz ahead of the defence and John Terry in the side, and the Chelsea defence were put under pressure in the first half against Newcastle. A good pass out of defence for Hazard's second, and the game got easier as it went on for the Brazilian.
Nemanja Matic 7/10 - The former Benfica man clearly hasn't had to settle in much at Stamford Bridge, having spent time there as a youngster, and it shows, as he has effortlessly slotted into the Chelsea team and English football in general. Adds strength and height to the side, which the Serb used at both ends of the pitch against Newcastle.
Frank Lampard 7/10 - Like Gerrard at Liverpool, very much the supporting player now for his younger teammates. Played well in a deeper role, and still capable of the occasional burst into the opposition area, forcing Krul into one full stretch save. Made one great interception as Newcastle looked to come in from the left.
Willian 7/10 - Did well to receive the ball and set Hazard off down the left for the Belgian's second goal. Worked hard throughout. Came off for Salah with just over ten minutes left.
Oscar 7/10 - Has found himself pushed aside a little by the form of Hazard and the impression Willian has made on the team. Played deeper than he did earlier on in the year, but was still a positive influence. Nearly capitalised on a Tim Krul slip to roll the ball into an empty net.
Eden Hazard 9.5/10 MOTM - Was already looking dangerous before he span away from opponents in midfield and fed Ivanovic, then got on the end of the return ball just inside the box to smash a great first time effort past Krul. His second goal was just as good, again creating it himself with a run from the left, before playing an exquisite one-two with Etoo that ended with the Belgian finding the far corner with another first time finish. Had chances for a third as he continued to look a menace and finally completed his hat trick with a composed penalty.
Samuel Etoo 7.5/10 - Provided an outstanding touch for Hazard's second goal, and linked up well with the Belgian. Should have perhaps scored around the hour mark when the ball fell to him inside the area, but he wasn't quick enough and Mike Williamson got a challenge in. Was dragged down by Yanga-Mbiwa for the penalty.
Demba Ba '71 6/10 - Replaced Etoo with 20 minutes left, but saw less of the ball than the other two Chelsea subs. Had one terrible effort that ended up closer to the corner flag than the goal.
Mohamed Salah '78 6.5/10 - Came on for his debut for Willian. Had a couple of moments when he looked to run with the ball but looked a little short of awareness. Dragged a shot wide as he ran beyond the Newcastle defence, and denied by Tim Krul just after when he should have scored. Drew a yellow card from Sissoko. Plenty of action for a 12 minute cameo, and he will clearly be someone in the thick of it whenever he takes to the pitch.
Andre Schurrle '85 6.5/10 - Replaced Hazard late on, and took part in a couple of breaks alongside Salah where they used their pace to shoot on goal. Blazed over from one of them.
images: © Ben Sutherland
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