Saturday, 18 April 2015

Chelsea 1-0 Man United: 5 things we learned as Eden Hazard extends Blues' lead at the top of the table


Star man: Eden Hazard in action with Wayne Rooney
Chelsea tightened their grip on top spot thanks to Eden Hazard's first-half winner.

The Blues star helped his side move 10 points clear of second-place Arsenal with a narrow win over Manchester United.

Hazard scored the only goal of the game before the break when he burst into the box to cooly slot home.

The forward missed the chance to wrap up victory in the second half when he hit the woodwork from close range, but Jose Mourinho's men held on.

Here's five things we learned:

PFA award nominee Hazard impresses

The Belgian showed again why he should win the PFA Player of the Year award.

Hazard faces competition from teammate Diego Costa, Philippe Coutinho, Harry Kane, Alexis Sanchez and David De Gea for the gong.

However, the 24-year-old scored past rival De Gea with a fine solo goal when he latched on to Oscar's cheeky backheel before racing through to slot home.

Hazard has scored 18 goals in all competitions for the Blues and has been vital to their title challenge.

Match-winner: Eden Hazard celebrates scoring his sides first goal
Falcao fails to deliver again

Radamel Falcao was handed only his 13th Premier League start of the season due to United's injury problems, with only Wayne Rooney's versatility to drop into midfield giving the Colombian a rare start up.

He has managed just four goals during his loan spell from Monaco, and fired another blank at Stamford Bridge.

The 29-year-old has been linked with a move to Liverpool, but it's difficult to see why the Reds would want him after another disappointing display.

United fans took to social media at half-time to vent their frustrations with the former Atletico Madrid frontman.

Falcao improved after the break, but missed a good chance to level late on.

Dejected: Radamel Falcao fired another blank
Shaw shows promise

Luke Shaw has played a bit-part role for United since his £27million move from Southampton in the summer.

However, the 19-year-old was restored to the side by boss Louis van Gaal for only his 13th Premier League start of the season.

And the teenager repaid the Old Trafford chief with an impressive offensive display as he marauded down the left flank.

Shaw caused Branislav Ivanovic problems, with the Chelsea defender going into the book for fouling the former Southampton full-back just before the hour mark.

Staked a claim: Luke Shaw put in a decent display
Chelsea were right to sell Mata

Eyebrows were raised when the Blues flogged Juan Mata to their Premier League rivals last year after being deemed surplus to requirements by Mourinho.

The Spaniard has been in decent form for United, but was quiet on his return to his old stomping ground.

So much so that the midfielder was hooked 20 minutes from time, with Adnan Januzaj replacing him for the closing stages.

The 26-year-old was given a good ovation by Blues fans, but boss Mourinho will be relieved his decision to offload Mata didn't come back to haunt him.

Familiar face: Didier Drogba greets Juan Mata
Time for Drogba to move on

Chelsea legend Didier Drogba recently revealed plans to continue playing next season , but it remains to be seen whether it will be at Stamford Bridge or elsewhere.

Mourinho has previously said that Drogba would finish his career in west London, but the Ivorian has managed just six goals during his second spell at Stamford Bridge.

Injuries to Diego Costa and Loic Remy left Mourinho with just Drogba as his only fit senior striker for the visit of the Red Devils.

However, the 37-year-old failed to deliver and Chelsea may have to look elsewhere to boost their firepower for next season.

Drogba was booked for a foul on Paddy McNair.

End of the road? Didier Drogba tackles Ander Herrera


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