Sept 1 (Reuters) – – Chelsea stretched their perfect Premier League start to four games after second-half goals from substitute Pedro Rodriguez and Eden Hazard gave them a 2-0 home win over Bournemouth on Saturday.
New manager Maurizio Sarri will be purring after seeing his side break down the visitors in the closing stages with a clinical performance after they had been stifled by stubborn defending for much of the contest.
Hazard, who ran the show for Chelsea with darting raids and neat footwork before he sealed the match with an arrowed shot from eight metres in the 85th minute, was delighted.
“We were always confident we would score,” the Belgium forward told the BBC.
“When you’re playing like that you have to be patient. We did well to keep the ball and move it quickly because we were too slow in the first half.
“I’m feeling confident, I’m enjoying my football, we have a new manager and lots of good players.”
The result left Chelsea joint top with Liverpool on a maximum 12 points, with either Watford or Tottenham Hotspur able to move level with the early pace-setters when they meet at Vicarage Road on Sunday.
The home team dominated a dour first half at Stamford Bridge but it was Bournemouth who missed the best chance in the opening period through Callum Wilson before Marcos Alonso hit the post at the other end.
Chelsea’s former centre back Nathan Ake skied his shot from three metres over the bar on the hour and that seemed to be a wake-up call for the hosts, who struggled despite having the lion’s share of the possession.
Pedro finally broke the deadlock in the 72nd minute after a fine one-two with fellow substitute Olivier Giroud and a low shot from the edge of the penalty area which gave visiting keeper Asmir Begovic no chance.
Hazard capped his brilliant individual performance by scoring after he was put through by the lively Alonso.
Sarri heaped praise on Hazard and looked forward to Chelsea’s next match at home to promoted Cardiff after the international break.
“I don’t know if we are able to win something this season, but Eden Hazard is very important to us,” said the Italian.
“I’m really very happy with my players at the moment. I don’t want to think about the last four matches –- it’s better to think about the next one.”
Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Clare Fallon