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5 Things We Learned As Chelsea Open Up 12-Point Gap At Top Of The Premier League

Marcos Alonso scored the opening goal after 13 minutes before Eden Hazard doubled the lead with a sensational solo effort and Cesc Fabregas added a third late on

1. Chelsea will have the title wrapped up by March

Chelsea finished the game 12 points clear at the top. It was a brilliant, well disciplined and hard four victory.

Chelsea are miles better than the rest, they have dominated the Premier League and Antonio Conte has outclassed his managerial rivals.

Chelsea have been fabulous this season. They will deserve to be champions – and they’ll wrap it up sooner rather than later.

Chelsea's Eden Hazard (centre) scores his side's second goal
Eden Hazard scores his side’s second goal (Photo: PA)
Hazard celebrates scoring (Photo: REUTERS)

2. You wouldn’t like Eden when he’s angry

Shkodran Mustafi took out Eden Hazard with a brutal foul in the first half. In the past, Hazard might have curled up and disappeared.

This time, rather like the Incredible Hulk, he showed Arsenal that they wouldn’t like him when he was angry.

Hazard was magical. His tricks, flicks and skill lit up the game. They could have used one ball for Hazard and another for the rest.

But Hazard’s goal, a wonderful solo effort, was one of the best – if not the best – you will see all season. Incredible goal, incredible player.

Petr Cech and Shkodran Mustafi reacts following Chelsea's second goal
Petr Cech and Shkodran Mustafi reacts to Chelsea’s second goal (Photo: Getty Images)
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger in the stands
Arsene Wenger watches the game from the stands (Photo: REUTERS)

3. Arsenal lost – but competed

It’s one thing to lose and be humiliated. Quite another to compete and lose. It was a terrific first half, real toe-to-toe as Arsenal dug in and could have equalised after going behind early on.

There was heart there. The away fans stuck with the team, even after the second goal and this sort of performance does not warrant a total fan meltdown.

Arsenal showed some pride, a bit of heart and even though the title has gone, and grabbed themselves a consolation goal late on through Olivier Giroud.

Antonio Conte celebrates with the crowd
Antonio Conte celebrates with the crowd (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

4. Granit Xhaka is a Gooner

Fair play. Xhaka went in the away end. He’s suspended but if there is one way for a player to win back the fans then it’s to go in with them. Xhaka even posted pictures of himself in the away end on social media.

You can bet Xhaka would have got a warmer reception than Arsene Wenger who was sat in among executive Chelsea punters while serving his touchline ban.

Alexis Sanchez in action with Cesar Azpilicueta
Alexis Sanchez in action with Cesar Azpilicueta (Photo: REUTERS)
Diego Costa in action with Shkodran Mustafi
Diego Costa in action with Shkodran Mustafi (Photo: REUTERS)

5. Video technology can’t come soon enough

Marcos Alonso’s opening goal should have been disallowed as he led with his arm, elbowed Hector Bellerin first and then scored.

But on first glance from the press box, it looked fine. Only on the TV replay in the press box at half time could you get a better view.

That’s why we need video technology to help referees.

Roman Abramovich and Didier Drogba
Roman Abramovich and Didier Drogba (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
Fans display a Frank Lampard banner
Fans display a Frank Lampard banner (Photo: PA)

PLAYER RATINGS

Chelsea

Courtois – 7

Good save to deny Gabriel. Composed and comfortable, good again.

Moses – 7

Strong and powerful down the right, his end product still lacks quality.

Azpilicueta – 7

Another brilliant performance, dominates in defence. He has been fantastic.

Luiz – 7

With every week he shows what a different and improved player he is.

Cahill – 7

Good performance, won crucial aerial battles. Solid.

Alonso – 7

Scored crucial opening goal, but led with elbow. Bit lucky.

Kante – 8

Magnificent. Fabulous, marauding display and was everywhere.

Cesc Fabregas scores his team’s third goal (Photo: Darren Walsh)

Matic – 7

Booked. Good performance, got the job done, made it hard for Arsenal.

Pedro – 7

His cross led to opening goal. Another lively, bright and skilful performance.

Hazard – 9

Looked really in the mood after being fired up by Mustafi challenge.

Costa – 8

Worked so hard, caused Arsenal problems and had a ding-dong with Mustafi.

Substitutes

Willian, for Pedro, 83 mins

Fabregas, for Hazard, 83 mins

Zouma, for Moses, 87 mins

Fabregas refuses to celebrate against his old side (Photo: Darren Walsh)

Arsenal

Cech – 5

Awful mistake at the end, poor back pass gifted Fabregas a third.

Bellerin – 6

Beaten in the air by Alonso on opening goal and injured in the process.

Mustafi – 5

Booked. Shown yellow for taking out Hazard. Missed big chance. Poor.

Koscielny – 7

Brilliant last ditch tackle on Hazard summed up a committed defensively display.

Monreal – 6

Better going forward than he was defensively. Exposed at times.

Coquelin – 7

Worked so hard, put his foot in, arguably Arsenal’s best player.

Olivier Giroud scores a consolation goal (Photo: Stuart MacFarlane)

Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6

After a slow start, Oxlade-Chmaberlain grew into the role and looked good.

Walcott – 5

Went to sleep on opener, was poor tracking back and disappointing.

Ozil – 4

Showed very little heart to match his technical quality. Bottled it too often.

Iwobi – 6

Worked hard and was lively, always looking for angles. Must improve defensively.

Sanchez – 6

Started brightly, but faded badly and ended up disappearing in the game.

Substitutes

Gabriel, for Bellerin, 17 mins, 6

Giroud, for Coquelin, 65 mins, 6

Welbeck, for Walcott, 70 mins, 7

Written by awwal

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