Hazard inspires Chelsea to victory
Aug 19 2012
Premier League debutant Eden Hazard played a starring role as Chelsea began their season with a 2-0 victory over Wigan at the DW Stadium.
Both goals came in the first seven minutes, with Hazard setting up full-back Branislav Ivanovic for the opener and then winning a penalty that was converted by Frank Lampard.
Wigan dominated much of the rest of the game and pressed hard for a goal, with Chelsea target Victor Moses, former Blue Franco Di Santo and new striker Arouna Kone all forcing decent saves from Petr Cech, but they could not make the breakthrough.
Hazard was Chelsea's highest-profile signing of the close season and it took the Belgian less than two minutes to show why the Blues splashed out a reported £32million.
He turned another summer signing, Wigan's Ivan Ramis, rather too easily in midfield and played a perfect ball through for the onrushing Ivanovic.
The defender was not in his natural territory but he showed impressive composure to run on and slot the ball past Ali Al Habsi.
Wigan and Ramis' afternoon soon got worse as the former Real Mallorca defender crudely upended Hazard in the penalty area and Lampard tucked away the penalty.
Di Santo had Wigan's clearest opening of the first half in injury time when he was played in by Maynor Figueroa but his first touch allowed Petr Cech to close him down and a combination of the keeper and David Luiz cleared the danger.
For all Wigan's pressure, Chelsea came within millimetres of making it three in the 63rd minute as Fernando Torres, who had been very quiet, finally found some space and his shot beat Al Habsi but Ramis redeemed himself a little by clearing off the line.
Kone, who scored 15 goals in the Primera Division for Levante last season, should really have opened his account in the 84th minute but powered a header wide from Jordi Gomez's corner.
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