Hazard stars as Chelsea stroll past West Brom

Eden Hazard strikes twice as Chelsea beat West Brom 3-0 at Stamford Bridge

Eden Hazard scored twice as Chelsea recovered from Premier League defeats by Bournemouth and Watford to beat bottom club West Brom and ease the pressure on manager Antonio Conte.

Hazard set the Blues on the way to a first home league win of 2018 by shooting home after playing a one-two with Olivier Giroud, making his first start since signing from Arsenal.

 

Jay Rodriguez, Salomon Rondon and Jonny Evans all wasted chances for the Baggies before Chelsea sealed victory.

Victor Moses fired home the second before visiting goalkeeper Ben Foster was again beaten by Hazard.

READ: Again Antonio Conte moans about signing players at Chelsea

The timely win lifts Chelsea back above Tottenham into fourth in the Premier League, three points behind second-placed Manchester United.

West Brom, who lost former Blues striker Daniel Sturridge to injury after just three minutes, are seven points from safety with 11 matches left. They have won just one of their past 25 league games.

Conte feels Stamford Bridge’s love

Conte’s name was sung throughout by the home fans, in an obvious show of support.

“I have to thank the fans because they showed me great support,” he said. “They are reading speculation and rumours on me and I’m grateful to the fans.

“It means they understand my passion, my will to defend this colour, this shirt, this badge.

“I have to live with this pressure until the end of the season. I don’t want this pressure to weigh on the shoulders of my players.”

Conte walked out to take his place in the technical area with his future as Chelsea manager shrouded in uncertainty.

The Italian insists he wants to see out the remainder of his contract – which runs until 2019 – and the club have not shown any inclination they want to bring his reign to an end just months after he won the Premier League in his first season.

Yet there is the assumption the clock is running down to the end of the season and the conclusion of Conte’s Chelsea career – perhaps even sooner had another poor result followed the heavy losses to Bournemouth and Watford.

This was a fixture with the capacity to be troublesome, but Conte got what he wanted – and so did Chelsea’s fans.

If supporter reaction can be used as an accurate measure, Conte retains huge backing among the fanbase.

His name echoed around Stamford Bridge inside the first minute, acknowledged politely by the Italian, and the noisy backing was repeated at regular intervals throughout a routine victory.

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