- Eden Hazard scored twice as his individual brilliance inspired Chelsea to a 3-1 win over Newcastle United
- The Belgium captain cancelled out Dwight Gayle's shock opener with a fine half-volley after 21 minutes
- Alvaro Morata continued his run of form in front of goal as he headed home to put Chelsea into the lead
- Hazard then chipped home a penalty to wrap up the result after an excellent turn around from the hosts
By Sami Mokbel for MailOnline
Published: 09:20 EST, 2 December 2017 | Updated: 10:24 EST, 2 December 2017
Newcastle's biggest error? Having the temerity to take the lead.
When Dwight Gayle tapped home in the 12th minute, Rafa Benitez was rubbing his hands at the thought of getting one over a club - where on the whole - he is not remembered with much fondness.
Instead, it was the beginning of the end for his team. Chelsea were riled. Chelsea responded. Chelsea won.
Chelsea secured a fifth consecutive home victory on Saturday afternoon as they beat Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge
Eden Hazard scored twice in a superb man-of-the-match performance and the Belgian came very close to scoring a hat-trick
Alvaro Morata was on target to score his 10th goal for Chelsea, which came after 33 minutes of the Premier League clash
Fellow Blues talisman Hazard had earlier equalised shortly after Newcastle had taken a surprise lead in west London
Dwight Gayle (left) opened the scoring after 12 minutes, but Newcastle's lead only lasted until midway through the first half
MATCH FACTS, PLAYER RATINGS AND LEAGUE TABLE
Chelsea (3-5-1-1): Courtois 5; Azpilicueta 6.5, Christensen 7.5 (Cahill 81), Rudiger 7; Moses 8, Fabregas 7.5 (Bakayoko 75), Kante 7, Drinkwater 6.5; Hazard 8.5 (Willian 78); Morata 7
Subs: Caballero, Pedro, Zappacosta, Batshuayi
Goals: Hazard (21, 74), Morata (33)
Manager: Conte 7
Newcastle (3-4-2-1): Darlow 6.5; Mbemba 7, Lejeune 6, Clark 7, Manquillo 6.5, Diame 6.5 (Shelvey 75), Merino 6 (Yedlin 85), Ritchie 4; Murphy 6.5, Perez 5.5 (Hayden 61, 6); Gayle 6.5
Subs: Elliot, Aarons, Joselu, Mitrovic
Goal: Gayle (12)
Manager: Benitez 6.5
Ref: Kevin Friend 6
Season at a glance
- Premier League
- Premier League
- League One
- League Two
- Scottish Premiership
- Scottish Div 1
- Scottish Div 2
- Scottish Div 3
- Ligue 1
- Serie A
- La Liga
Alvaro Morata scored his 10th goal for Chelsea after Matt Richie unsuccessfully cleared Antonio Rudiger's long pass as far as Victor Moses, who fizzed in a fine cross
Eden Hazard was the man of the match after scoring twice in a 77-minute outing that was very busy, as illustrated by his heat map
For more stats and maps visit Sportsmail's brilliant Match Zone.
Eden Hazard was the instigator, the Belgian producing another scintillating display to ensure his team keep on the coat tails of leaders Manchester City.
Newcastle tried marking him, they tried kicking him. They tried everything. They couldn't near him.
His double took his season tally to eight, an impressive return given he missed the opening month of the campaign.
Similarly, Antonio Conte's team are building up a head of steam; this victory their 19th point from a possible 21 in the league.
Manchester City may be running away with the title; Chelsea, though, aren't willing to give up their trophy without a fight.
As for Benitez, this was an altogether forgettable experience on this first return to Stamford Bridge after his interim spell in charge during the 2012-13 season.
Chelsea fans don't hold Benitez in the highest esteem, the boos that followed when his name was announced over the tannoy system illustrative of their disdain.
Suffice to say their feelings towards the former Blues manager didn't improve in the 12th minute as Newcastle took a shock lead.
Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois looked frustrated after conceding an early goal
Azpilicueta and Courtois watched on helplessly as Newcastle striker Gayle slotted home from inside the penalty area
Chelsea were level within nine minutes of falling behind as Hazard beat Newcastle goalkeeper Karl Darlow with a half volley
Hazard punched the air as he celebrated his first goal at the end of the ground where the Newcastle supporters were housed
Dwight Gayle had the simplest tasks of slotting home into an empty net from seven yards after Jacob Murphy nipped in front of the on-rushing Thibault Courtois to leave Chelsea's goal exposed.
The travelling Geordie support went crazy. Conte would have been just as emotional.
His side were lacklustre at the start of this encounter and punished for their loose opening.
But as champions do, Chelsea responded.
Hazard - on his return to the starting XI after being rested for Wednesday's win over Swansea - firing past Karl Darlow in the 21st minute after Florian Lejeune could only prod Cesc Fabregas' pass into the Belgian's path.
Truth be told, Chelsea should have been level before that Hazard's strike.
Karl Darlow produced an excellent instinctive save to deny Hazard in the 17th minute after Fabregas' unerring 60 yard pass neutralised Newcastle's defence.
Chelsea's second goal came from the head of Spanish striker Morata, who nodded home powerfully from close range
Darlow didn't have a chance of stopping Morata's header, which was set up by a drilled cross from wing back Victor Moses
Morata celebrated his goal with cross-provider Moses, as well as star man Hazard, who patted the wing back on his head
Spanish summer signing Morata waved to Chelsea supporters after reaching the 10-goal landmark for his new club
Striker Morata celebrated his landmark goal by making an 'A' with his right hand — in honour of his wife Alice Campello
Morata then had a strong penalty shout rejected by referee Kevin Friend after Darlow recklessly careered into the back of the Spain striker before Andreas Christensen saw his header cannon off the post a minute before Hazard's eventual leveller.
Following the euphoria of taking the lead, Newcastle were swiftly put back in their place.
Indeed it got worse for the Magpies in the 33rd minute as Chelsea edged ahead.
Victor Moses' bullet cross into the box to allow Morata to nod him from two yards was excellent.
But Matt Ritchie's attempted defensive header that allow Moses the time and space to find Morata was equally as bad.
Normal service resumed. Not that Conte's mood improved much.
Fresh from his FA misconduct charge for his touchline rant at official Lee Mason in midweek, the Italian's tether was pushed to its limits yet again here.
Moses, on his first start since October 14, was excellent and won a penalty when he was fouled by midfielder Matt Richie
Hazard converted the spot kick in very cool fashion, casually chipping the ball into the net as Darlow dived out of the way
Keeper Darlow dived to his left as a confident Hazard watched his dinked shot land near the centre of the Newcastle goal
Hazard was mobbed by team-mates Morata, Marcos Alonso and Azpilicueta after scoring his second goal of the afternoon
After attempting nine shots — getting six on target — in his 77-minute outing, Hazard was taken off by manager Antonio Conte
Friend's decision not to award Chelsea a penalty for Darlow's assault on Morata had the Chelsea manager seething.
He looked close to erupting when the referee refused to award his team a free kick on the edge of the box after Morata looked to have been fouled, Friend instead blowing up for half-time.
Chelsea were denied a second penalty shout, in the 56th minute after Hazard, in amongst a sea of bamboozled black and white shirts, fell just six yards from goal.
You can imagine Conte's reaction. This time, though, Friend looked to make the correct call.
Chelsea were in full control, though Ayoze Perez did fire a warning in the 60th minute, his shot from distance flashing wide.
Moses, performing well on his return to the starting XI after a two month injury absence - guided a header straight at Darlow in the 66th minute before Hazard just failed to get on the end of Danny Drinkwater's delicate flicked pass.
And it was a case of third time lucky for Chelsea as Hazard wrapped up victory with an audacious Paneka penalty after Ritchie's torrid afternoon continued when he tripped Moses after Fabregas' defence-splitting pass ripped Newcastle wide open.