Eden Hazard backed himself to score against Bournemouth

09 April 2017 10:54

Eden Hazard has admitted that even before kick-off he knew he would score at Bournemouth.

Hazard reached 14 Premier League goals in a season for the third time in his Chelsea career as the Blues prevailed 3-1 on the south coast.

The Belgium playmaker's masterful finish helped leaders Chelsea cement a seven-point cushion over Tottenham, with Antonio Conte's men requiring at most 15 points from seven games to claim the title.

In targeting his best-ever league goals return, Hazard revealed he will expect to score against certain sides - but still aims to find the net against every opponent.

"You have teams that you know before the game that you can score, or that it's your team," said Hazard.

"I remember in France I always scored against the same teams, but if you want to be a top player, you have to score against every team.

"It was a good goal, I like to score against them. I scored two goals against them here last season."

Last April Hazard broke a Premier League scoring duck of 355 days with a brace in Chelsea's 4-1 win at Bournemouth, with stand-in boss Guus Hiddink then tipping the Belgium star to fight back to top form.

Whatever part Hazard played in Jose Mourinho's Chelsea sacking in December 2015, the 26-year-old has now hit back to his best under new Blues boss Antonio Conte.

Hazard rounded Artur Boruc with a majestic delayed dummy to slot Chelsea's second goal at Dean Court, after Diego Costa's woefully-sliced effort had rebounded off Adam Smith's head for an own goal.

Marcos Alonso's whipped free-kick then sealed a fifth win in six Premier League games for the visitors, after Joshua King's deflected shot had handed Bournemouth hope.

Happy to admit he now feels in top form, Hazard insisted Chelsea will not wilt under the pressure of their title tussle with Tottenham.

Spurs' 4-0 thrashing of Watford in Saturday's lunchtime kick-off handed Chelsea the challenge of winning on the south coast to maintain their league stranglehold.

Blues boss Conte admitted he relishes such high-pressure situations, and Hazard revealed the players are also coping with the challenge.

Chelsea's title battle will roll on to a heavily-loaded reunion with old boss Mourinho's Manchester United at Old Trafford next weekend, with Hazard insisting the Blues must not relent with the silverware in sight.

When quizzed on his own current form, Hazard told Chelsea's official website: "Fantastic. Like the whole team.

"It's a massive win for us, especially as we knew what Tottenham had done.

"Maybe before the game we felt pressure but once the game kicks off we just think about winning, after that we didn't think about the Tottenham result.

"We know if we want to be champions we've got to go to win every game.

"We scored two very beautiful goals in the second-half."

Howe insisted the Cherries can be proud of their recovery, despite remaining frustrated with the two first-half goals they had leaked.

Bournemouth will now face Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Saturday, with Howe expecting another stern encounter.

"We're disappointed with elements of the first-half where we conceded the two goals," said Howe.

"But I thought we gave them real problems with the ball at times.

"We fought back and that was pleasing. The players showed really good character to hang in there at 2-1.

"Now it will be a normal week in preparation for Tottenham. I watched them against Watford and it will be another tough test."

Source: PA


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