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Fixtures

16 Dec H Southampton English Premier League
20 Dec H Bournemouth EFL Cup
23 Dec A Everton English Premier League
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Chelsea 3-1 Newcastle

Eden Hazard scored two goals either side of Alvaro Morata’s ninth of the season as Chelsea beat Newcastle United 3-1, their sixth win in seven matches.

Antonio Conte started a creative XI, with pass masters Cesc Fabregas and Danny Drinkwater either side of N’Golo Kante in midfield.

Thibaut Courtois was in goal, while it was Gary Cahill’s turn to be rested from playing in a back three that included Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger.

Victor Moses made his full return from injury on one wing, with Marcos Alonso on the other, to provide crosses into forward pairing Hazard and Morata.

It was a strange start for Chelsea, however, who were behind in the 12th minute after a defensive mix-up let Newcastle score an early goal.

The Blues didn’t panic, as they knew they had the time and quality to get back in the game.

In fact, Chelsea came close less than 10 minutes later, when Christensen’s towering header hit the post. It was a brief disappointment for Chelsea, who kept the move alive and equalised seconds later.

After exchanging passes with the other centre-backs, Azpi drove a long ball into the box towards an onrushing Morata. The pass was intercepted, but the ball fell to Hazard who hammered it in.

It was 2-1 soon after. Moses created the goal on his return to the starting line-up, pouncing on a poor defensive header and drilling a cross onto the head of Morata, who nodded in from a few yards out.

The Blues almost scored a similar goal at the start of the second-half. Christensen, seeing space ahead of him, charged into the Brighton half and found Moses on a run into the box. The Nigerian international crossed towards Morata again, but a defender got to the ball first and diverted it over.

Hazard was on the hunt for his second soon after. Exchanging a quick one-two with Drinkwater on the edge of the box, the Belgian darted in towards goal but couldn’t get his shot away from a tight angle.

He had his other goal minutes later, however, by scoring the first penalty Chelsea had been awarded all season.

Moses, who had been a threat all match, was brought down in the area after being picked out by a Fabregas pass. Hazard stepped up and dinked the ball into the back of the net.

The result cements Chelsea’s spot in third, three points ahead of fourth-place Liverpool and three points behind Manchester United in second.

Next up for the Blues is their final Champions League group game against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday, knowing a win would secure them top spot going into the knockout stages.

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