Chelsea 4-1 Cardiff City: Hits and Flops from the game
Maurizio Sarri's Chelsea came back from a goal down to register a convincing 4-1 win over newly promoted Cardiff City at Stamford Bridge earlier today. The Blues waited patiently to weather the storm in the early minutes as Neil Warnock's men conjured a compulsive start to the game in west London.
Cardiff looked sharp early on and Chelsea's nervy start to the game resulted in the Bluebirds taking the obvious route to break the deadlock. Sean Morrison leapt highest to guide a header on to the path of Sol Bamba, who sneaked in behind Jorginho, to pounce on the ball at the end of a well-worked set-piece routine.
The visitors were able to establish an early lead but Chelsea got back to their stride very soon and it took two stunning saves from Neil Etheridge to prevent Mateo Kovacic from restoring parity between the two sides.
However, Eden Hazard's magical brace within the space of seven minutes, towards the end of the first half, ensured that the Blues headed into the break with the lead.
Chelsea settled in well during the second half and took control of proceedings before Willian was brought down in the penalty area by Bamba shortly after the Brazilian's introduction in place of Pedro. Hazard stepped up and sent Etheridge the wrong way to extend the hosts' lead before Willian put the icing on the cake with a thunderous effort that found the top corner of the net, just three minutes later.
The win helped Chelsea maintain their flawless start to the season while also catapulting them to the summit of the league table over Liverpool, who beat Tottenham Hotspur earlier in the day, on goal difference. On that note, let's take a closer look at the best and worst performers from the Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge:
#5 Hit - Willian (Chelsea)
The Brazilian was replaced by Pedro, who made his 100th appearance for Chelsea across all competitions, in the starting eleven against Cardiff and it did not take him long to make an impact on the game following his introduction in the second half. The 30-year-old replaced Pedro in the 68th minute and was warranted with mixed reactions due to his sloppy start that saw him give the ball away a number of times after coming on.
However, Willian made the daring run that tempted Bamba to commit a silly challenge that won Chelsea the penalty in the 80th minute and backed up his credentials with a sumptuous finish, that left Etheridge rooted to his spot, just three minutes later.
Pedro's wasteful nature on the night coupled with Willian's heroics could tempt Maurizio Sarri to give the Brazilian an extended run in the starting lineup as Chelsea prepare for a busy schedule across three different competitions this month.