Hazard shines as Chelsea coast to opening win
New Chelsea winger Eden Hazard, widely hailed as the next big thing, lived up to all the hype inside the first seven minutes of his Premier League debut after setting up both goals in a 2-0 win at Wigan Athletic on Sunday.
The Belgian, who joined the European Cup winners from Lille in the close season having turned down champions Manchester City and Manchester United, quickly silenced doubters who suspected England would be far tougher than the modest French league.
First he expertly turned marker Ivan Ramis to release right back Branislav Ivanovic, who ran in and coolly slotted home in the second minute having been allowed to play despite a red card in the 3-2 Community Shield loss to City last Sunday.
Hazard then danced his way into the box and was carelessly upended by error-prone Wigan debutant Ramis, leaving Frank Lampard to slam in the seventh-minute penalty.
Roberto Di Matteo’s side, only sixth in the Premier League last term despite their Champions League triumph, then strolled through the rest of their season opener as Wigan and Chelsea target Victor Moses barely troubled goalkeeper Petr Cech.
Champions City host promoted Southampton in Sunday’s other game (1500 GMT) while Manchester United and new striker Robin van Persie open their campaign at Everton on Monday (1900).