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Hazard reveals surprise reason Giroud deserves Southampton praise

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Oliver Giroud was fully deserving of his post-match praise after coming from the bench to score twice and inspire Chelsea’s Premier League defeat of Southampton at the weekend because he gives everything on and off the pitch.
That’s according to the striker’s team-mate Eden Hazard.

The Blues were staring at another damning defeat as they trailed the relegation-threatened Saints 2-0 after 60 minutes at St Mary’s.

But Giroud’s introduction shortly after the hour mark was the catalyst for a comeback as he headed in from Marcos Alonso’s cross with his first league goal since joining from Arsenal in January to narrow the deficit.

Hazard then levelled himself before Giroud netted a second within an eight-minute three-goal turnaround, drilling into the bottom corner for a morale-boosting win on the South Coast.

And Hazard hailed the pivotal performance of his super-sub team-mate, with Chelsea having struggled in the first hour when Alvaro Morata led the line, for his efforts behind the scenes as well as on the pitch.

The Belgian told Chelsea’s official website: “We know what Olivier is all about. We know his quality and he showed that against Southampton, as he made a great impact from the bench
“He deserved this because he gives everything on the pitch and even when he isn’t on the pitch, he supports the team.

“All the focus was on him and he deserved the Man of the Match award. He showed great character and great personality to play and to finish the game well for us.”

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte declared himself “very angry” with their first-half performance but Hazard actually felt his side played well until Dusan Tadic handed the hosts the advantage on 21 minutes.

“We spoke together in the dressing room at half-time and we showed great character to come back and win the game,” he added.

READ ALSO: Manchester United may miss out on top four – Mourinho

“I actually thought we started the game fairly well. The first 10 or 15 minutes we were in control of the game but then they scored the goal and things changed.

“We were a little bit down and were trying to play off the ball, but that wasn’t working because Southampton were defending very well.

“After they scored the second goal we had to make some changes and you saw what happened after that! It was a great comeback and we were all very happy to get the win.”
Chelsea remain set to miss out on next season’s Champions League though they can narrow the gap to fourth-placed Tottenham to five points if they beat Burnley away from home on Thursday (7.45pm).

But FA Cup glory is within their sights as they prepare to face Southampton again, this time at Wembley, in the final four of the competition on Sunday (3pm).

Hazard added: “We are happy with this win and we want to do the same against Southampton in the FA Cup semi-final. We want to go through and get to the final, for sure.

“We know that the game will be completely different [to the league game] but Southampton will also know after the way we’ve come back, that we are ready to do everything to get the result we need.”

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Chelsea

PFA team of the year: Pogba included, Hazard absent on list

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Manchester United midfielder, Paul Pogba, has been named in the PFA Team of the Year.

Pogba was the only non-Liverpool or Manchester City player to make the PFA Team of the Year.

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard misses out in a side which is dominated by Liverpool and Manchester City players.

The team is set to be revealed on Thursday and is voted for by players in the Premier League.

Four Liverpool players have made the cut, including Virgil van Dijk, who has won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year ahead of Raheem Sterling.

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has been named in the PFA Team of the Year for the second successive season, while Bernardo Silva is also included after his brilliant season for the Premier League champions.

Hazard misses out for the second year running, despite being on the six-man shortlist for the PFA Players’ Player of the Year.

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Chelsea

Hazard to earn £400,000 weekly in Real Madrid

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Eden Hazard will be offered £400,000-a-week to join Real Madrid this summer and a new house, the UK Sun reports.

The Belgian superstar is ready to quit Chelsea and has his heart set on a move to Spain.

Zinedine Zidane is back in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu and is planning to overhaul his squad after this season.

Hazard is top of his wish list and Zidane is also said to want Manchester United’s Paul Pogba.

For Hazard, Madrid will sweeten the deal, by throwing in a luxury property and help with his relocation costs.

Chelsea won’t stand in the player’s way, but expect the LaLiga giants to get near their £95million valuation, even though Hazard’s contract expires in summer 2020.

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Chelsea

Why Chelsea was unable to defeat Burnley – David Luiz

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Chelsea’s central defender, David Luiz has explained why his side drew 2-2 with Burnley on Monday night.

Luiz said Burnley refused to play the game and adopted time wasting techniques.

Mourizio Sarri’s men missed the chance to go to third position in the Premier League on Monday.

Jeff Hendrick had given the visitors a shock lead with a sensational volley from outside the area.

But N’Golo Kante scored an almost instant equaliser after good work from Eden Hazard on the left.

Gonzalo Higuain then put Chelsea into the lead with a well-taken strike from the angle, but Ashley Barnes stunned the home fans after sliding the Clarets level after a well-worked set piece.

Chelsea pushed hard for a late winner, but Sean Dyche’s side were well organised and defended their box masterfully to take a point which surely guarantees their safety from relegation.

Luiz told Sky Sports, “We tried everything to win the game. It’s difficult when you play against a team who have two chances and score two goals and didn’t want to play the game.

“It’s anti-football. Losing time [time wasting] all the time, especially when you have the ball. Their players went to the floor and stopped the game.

“They were playing 11 inside the box. It’s difficult to score against a team like that.”

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