Qarabag 0-4 Chelsea: 5 Talking Points
Chelsea pranced into the last 16 of the Champions League as Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and a brilliant brace by Willian sealed an emphatic 4-0 win for the Premier League champions in Baku.
Qarabag, for all their bright opening exchanges, were reduced to 10-men in the 19th minute as skipper Rasad Sadiqov was dismissed for a foul on Willian, resulting in a penalty that Hazard dispatched hassle-free.
It was all Chelsea thereafter as the goal knocked the winds out of the seemingly vibrant Azerbaijan outfit, who were left chasing red herrings for the remainder of the game. As for Antonio Conte and his men in blue, the London side girded up their loins in style for the mouth-watering clash with Liverpool this weekend.
Here are some of the major talking points from the game.
#5 Willian packs a punch
Not normally among those to hog the limelight, but Willian took home the cake today for what was a delightful show and also one of his best this season. The diminutive Brazilian bagged a brace on the night as he was one of the driving factors behind Chelsea's smooth-sailing across the Caspian sea.
Deployed on the left flank in a slightly tweaked 3-4-2-1 formation, the 29-year old wrote his name on the scoresheet after turning a Hazard backheel clip into the bottom corner with a fierce strike. Just when the prattles of a resurgence in Willian's game started to make the rounds, the latter further consolidated it with another brilliant effort, a tad better than his last.
Scampering across the face of the goal evading the Qarabag defenders, the former Anzhi man then unleashed a ferocious low-drive that capped off a comprehensive evening for Chelsea.
Having seen himself reduced to a mere back-up from the bench last season, Willian seems to be a man on a mission to prove Conte wrong. And on tonight's evidence, he's doing it all right.