Hull City 0 Chelsea 2

By Paul Lagan
Last updated : 11 January 2014

Second-half strikes from Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres were enough to propel the Blue to the top of the pile for at least 24 hours as they dispatched a plucky Hull City at the KC Stadium this afternoon.

Arsenal play tomorrow while Manchester City, the other club who can overhaul the Londoners play on Monday.

While Chelsea dominated the first half no goals were forthcoming, and it was left to Chelsea's player of the season so far Hazard to provide the spark that set the Londoners on their way to three precious points.

Torres's strike was clean and sweet, but by then the damage had been done by Hazard.
This win, shows true title credentials - the Blues have won 16 points out of a possible 18 since losing away to Stoke City on December 7.

The early exchanges were very much even, neither side being able to take consistent control of the ball.

The first shot on target on seven minutes was a dipping 20-yard effort by Ahmed Elmohamady, which dipped at the last second, giving Petr Cech a second to panic, but he snaffled the ball up comfortably in the end.

Chelsea striker Fernando Torres escaped the offside trap seven minutes later to have a raid on goal from the left

Unluckily for the Spain striker he saw his angled shot, on target, get a deflection off Curtis Davis for a corner.

Jake Livermore was next up to test Cech from range on 22 minutes, again the shot was fierce and on target. This time it was too hot to handle and Cech parried it way for a corner.

From the resultant kick, Alex Bruce had a free header, out jumping Ramires, but the effort saw the ball arrow over Cech's crossbar.

Chelsea had a lucky escape when a minute later a sloppy pass by John Terry was quickly intercepted by Yannick Sagbo on the edge of the Chelsea area. Sparing the Blues' skipper's blushes, the Ivory Coast striker slashed his right-footer across goal, beating Cech, but also wide of the Chelsea goal.

Hull goalkeeper Allan McGregor made a hash of a regulation, punch-out from a deep Willian free-kick. Chelsea failed to capitalise on that. But the Scottish stopper made up for that on 32 minutes which a brilliant finger-tip save from Oscar, six yard out of goal. The Brazil midfielder was expertly set-up by Eden Hazard who cut the ball back from the byline perfectly for Oscar. He did all the right things, controlling and shooting in one swift moment, but McGregor's lightening reflexes denied a certain opening goal.

Two minutes before break and Chelsea and Hazard felt he had a penalty when he was bundled over in the Hull area by Jake Livermore. Referee Mark Clatternberg waved play on. Seconds later and Ex-Spurs man Livermore was late on a challenge on David Luiz. After a few pushes and shoves by players on both team, Clattenberg restored order. Luiz took the free kick. McGregor was again on top form, tipping the swerving shot over his crossbar.
Neither manager made any changes at half time.

Hazard and Ramires had early half-chances but neither troubled McGregor unduly.

However another ripping Luiz free-kick from 20-yards on 52 minutes did force the goalkeeper into a low, diving save to his right to deny the Brazilian, playing in a deep-lying midfield role rather than his customary centre-back position.

But if a goal was comIng it was going to be from the men in Blue.

And that's exactly what happened 11 minutes into the restart. Luiz carried the ball forward deep into enemy territory, he passed to Ashley Cole, who produced a deft back-heeled kick into the path of in-running Hazard. The Belgium collected the ball and arrowed across the edge of the Hull penalty area from the left. One shimmy later and James Chester fell for the dummy, literally.

This allowed Hazard to take another touch, find a better shooting angle before planting the perfect right-footed drive into the left-hand corner of McGregor's net. This time the goalkeeper had no chance.

Gary Cahill conceded a free-kick on the edge of his area and got a yellow card for his trouble on 64 minutes. In fact the yellow was harsh as the centre-back had hit the ball for a corner with his shoulder not his arm as Clattenberg thought.

However, from the free-kick, Tom Huddlestone saw his curling effort smash into Cech's side-netting.

Curtis Davis made a last-gasp lunch to intercept an Oscar shot, inside his penalty area just as Chelsea looked like doubling their lead with 17 minutes of the match to go. Willian had being the architect of the counter-attacking move that signified much of the visitors play.

With 10 minutes left, Jose Mourinho signalled his intent to close-up the game by bringing on defensive midfielder Mikel for the attacking Oscar.

Fernando Torres finished off any lingering thoughts the Chelsea fans may have felt that they could throw away the three points when he hit number two with five minutes left.

Taking a simple pass form Willian, the Spain striker took two touches before accelerating past a lumbering Alex Bruce. As soon as he got into the penalty area on the left, Torres struck a sweet left-footed daisy cutter past McGregor's desperate dive to his right.
Next week, it's the visit of Manchester United to Stamford Bridge.

 

Teams: Hull City, McGregor, Chester, Bruce, Davies, Elmohamady, Figueroa, Meyler, Huddlestone, Livermore, Boyd, Sagbo
Subs: Harper, Rosenior, Faye, Quinn, Koren, Graham, Fryatt

Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Luiz, Willian, Oscar, Hazard, Torres
Subs: Schwarzer, Bertrand, Mikel, Essien, Schurrle, Mata, Eto'o.

Referee: Mark Clattenberg.

Ends

 

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