Football

Hazard: We could have scored six

Eden Hazard said runaway Premier League leaders Chelsea could easily have won by double the 3-1 scoreline that extinguished Arsenal's title hopes for another season.

The Belgian tore through the Arsenal defence at Stamford Bridge on Saturday for a stunning Chelsea second goal, but suggested the champions-elect held back from inflicting further damage on Arsene Wenger's demoralised men.

"We could score two or three more goals. We didn't, we keep it for the next game, I think," Hazard told Chelsea TV.

Reflecting on his solo goal, after he powered his way from the halfway line past several Arsenal challenges, he added: "I score a few goals, a few beautiful goals, but this one is special.

"It's against Arsenal and we won the game. This one is one of the best."

Former England and Chelsea boss Glenn Hoddle hailed Hazard as a superb big-game player but said the opposite is true for Arsenal's Mesut Oezil, who had another anonymous outing to reinforce a popular belief that the German has trouble rising to a big occasion.

In his column for the Daily Mail, Hoddle said: "When you play the big games, you want your big players to step up. That's exactly what he (Hazard) did.

"The contrast with Mesut Oezil was unavoidable. The bigger the game, the better Hazard plays.

"For Oezil, despite his record as a World Cup winner and a La Liga champion at Real Madrid, you feel it's the opposite."

Hoddle had high praise for Hazard's wonder goal, which saw him beat the entire Gunners' defence on his own to extend Chelsea's advantage to 2-0, after Marcos Alonso had given the hosts an early lead.

Said Hoddle: "His goal was wonderful but throughout he was excellent.

"(Chelsea manager) Antonio Conte praised his back-tracking and work for the team. But he has that magical ability to change a game.

"He beat Laurent Koscielny twice for his goal, and that's a defender I rate highly. Once he has you face on, bearing down on goal, he can destroy the best defenders with his quick feet."

Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas netted a third goal against his former team five minutes from time, before Olivier Giroud headed in a consolation goal in injury time.

The win kept Chelsea nine points ahead of nearest rivals Tottenham Hotspur, but Conte vowed that he is too experienced to allow complacency to seep into his squad.

He said: "In my career as a footballer, I won a lot, but I (also) lost a lot. And when you lose three finals of the Champions League and you win only one, I think you have a great hunger."

- WIRE SERVICES

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