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Hazard strike sees Chelsea home


Eden Hazard celebrates scoring the winning goal

Eden Hazard celebrates scoring the winning goal

Eden Hazard celebrates scoring the winning goal

Chelsea stayed in contention at the top of the Barclays Premier League with a slender win over Swansea at Stamford Bridge which left Jose Mourinho frustrated by familiar failings in front of goal.

Eden Hazard was arguably the only one of Chelsea's four starting attacking players to emerge with any credit in attack - Oscar's defensive workrate earned him a pass mark - as Mourinho was again left to bemoan his side's lack of cutting edge.

The impressive Hazard gave Chelsea an interval lead, but Samuel Eto'o spurned chances to double the advantage either side of half-time.

The best saw Eto'o denied by goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel from point-blank range in the opening seconds of the second half as the Blues' lack of potency was again illustrated.

Mourinho has recently spoken of his unease every time his side miss a chance, knowing it could prove costly in defence.

Swansea scarcely threatened, but as long as there was just one goal in it the Blues were vulnerable and Mourinho knew it.

The visitors could not find an opening, though, leaving them with one win in six as Chelsea claimed en eighth win from nine home games this season to extend Mourinho's unbeaten Premier League record at Stamford Bridge to 69 games.

Chelsea will face a sterner test of their title credentials in Sunday's home clash with in-form Liverpool, while Swansea face Aston Villa on Saturday.

With Liverpool in mind, Mourinho made five changes from Monday's goalless draw with Arsenal, with Ashley Cole, David Luiz, Juan Mata, Oscar and Eto'o in for Cesar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill, Frank Lampard, Willian and Fernando Torres, respectively.

Swansea, who made six changes following the loss to Everton, were soon under pressure.

Hazard played a through ball so delightful that even recipient Oscar was unable to control it and Branislav Ivanovic's deflected shot went over off Ashley Williams soon afterwards.

After Jonjo Shelvey shot wide across goal for Swansea, the lively Hazard did similar after receiving a return pass from Eto'o and then Ramires fired at Tremmel from 25 yards.

Chelsea continued to push forward. Oscar dived in to tackle Alejandro Pozuelo and crossed for John Terry, who volleyed into the floor, with Tremmel tipping over.

It was one of a series of Blues set-pieces and when Swansea failed to adequately clear one Mata cross, Terry clipped the ball into the six-yard box and Williams cleared ahead of the lurking John Obi Mikel, whose goalscoring record is less than prolific.

Hazard is Chelsea's top-scorer in the Premier League this season and netted his seventh after being granted space to run.

The Belgian cut in from the left and hit a swerving right-footed shot, which flew by Williams and Tremmel.

The Swansea captain blocked the goalkeeper's view, but Tremmel should have done better.

The goalkeeper was fortunate not to concede another moments later after receiving a Williams back pass. Eto'o tackled him, before a relieved Tremmel retrieved the ball. Not for the first, or last, time in the game, Mourinho kicked out in frustration in his technical area.

The gloss on Hazard's performance almost washed off when he failed to adequately track back, allowing Alvaro Vazquez a shot at the back post.

Petr Cech saved, but Hazard incurred the wrath of his manager before then almost redeeming himself by making space for another shot, this time straight at Tremmel, but saved.

Eto'o should have doubled the lead when found by a lofted Mata pass, but shot too close to Tremmel and Ramires could not reach the rebound first.

Chelsea launched an attack as soon as the match restarted and Eto'o, again, should have scored.

Luiz's long ball down the right found Mata, who crossed for Eto'o, but from six yards out the striker was denied when he shot straight at Tremmel.

Hazard then found Eto'o on the edge of the area and he shot wide.

Mourinho called on reinforcements as Frank Lampard replaced Oscar and Andre Schurrle came on for Mata.

Tremmel turned the ball round the post from Lampard, who shot from his customary position on the edge of the area as again Chelsea were unable to double their lead.

Mourinho continued pacing in his technical area and Swansea stretched their hosts on a couple of occasions, without causing Cech any alarm.

Hazard made way for Willian for the closing stages but still Chelsea could not find a second.

Eto'o felt he was pushed in the back by Jordi Almat as he tried to reach an aerial ball, going down more in hope than expectation.

There was no late Swansea flurry, much to Eto'o and Mourinho's relief, as Chelsea triumphed.