Chelsea’s magician – that’s him in the No10 shirt in the middle – worked his wizardry against West Ham to take all three points with two sumptuous goals on Monday night at the Bridge.
Eden Hazard scored what may well prove to be April’s goal of the month after 24 minutes, weaving though the Irons’ defence, shimmying past five tackles and planting the ball beyond the reach of Lucasz Fabianski.
He then capped a superb performance in the final minute by adding a second, steering the ball effortlessly home to a deafening ovation.
This was Hazard at his supreme best, with the promising Callum Hudson-Odoi (given a second league start on the trot) left to wonder and marvel at the master.
It showed up the limitations of Gonzalo Higuain up front and – later – Olivier Giroud, neither of whom could conjure up anything like the inspiration shown by the Belgian maestro.
West Ham’s fans, congregated at the Shed end, could only impotently chant about Hazard’s likely departure in the summer to Real Madrid, but the bottom line was that Chelsea were superior and dominant in this one-sided game, even if the number of generated chances didn’t translate into a goal rush.
For the Irons, Aaron Cresswell had the best chance when he fired a rocket at Kepa’s goal in the 63rd minute, only to see it veer wide.
Chelsea bossed this derby, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek – angered to be subbed in the second half, despite having an excellent game – and N’Golo Kante the stand-out performers alongside Hazard.
This was Hazard’s night. A hat-trick would not have been unreasonable, but although there were a couple of close shaves, he had to settle for two.
Hazard now leapfrogs Jamie Vardy and Raheem Sterling to take fifth spot in the Premier League leading goalscorers table… and is now only two off Mohamed Salah at the top.