It took him 34 games, but Eden Hazard finally scored his first league goal of the season as Chelsea overcame Bournemouth in an entertaining game on Saturday afternoon.
The Belgian didn’t he first goal, he added a second on a day markedly different from December 5 when Eddie Howe’s side produced one of the results of the season at Stamford Bridge with a 1-0 victory in the last days of Jose Mourinho’s reign.
Cesc Fabregas provided Chelsea’s first three goals on Saturday, teeing up Pedro and Hazard in the first half before releasing Willian for the third after the break.
The Cherries had got back to 2-1 when Tommy Elphick’s header crept in before the interval.
But Hazard, who netted 19 times last season, finished from Nemanja Matic’s pull-back in injury time.
The 25-year-old, returning from a five-game lay-off with a hip injury, had been held up as one of the main men culpable for Mourinho’s departure as Chelsea boss in December, following a horrendous start to their Premier League title defence.
In contrast to the 2014-15 campaign, when he was voted player of the year by his fellow professionals, Hazard had looked lacking in motivation and desire at times this term, with his only two goals coming in the FA Cup.
He was one of seven Blues players who had started their shock 1-0 loss to Bournemouth five months ago, but he was direct and effective in the return fixture at Dean Court.
Fabregas, having already slipped in a through-ball for Pedro to finish one-on-one for the opener, teed up Hazard with a clever backheel and the former Lille forward found the bottom corner from 20 yards out.
And after Willian, once again racing on to a Fabregas pass, had restored a two-goal cushion, Hazard poked in his second to finish off a display that would have left incoming manager Antonio Conte excited about the talent at his disposal when he comes to Stamford Bridge in the summer.