Chelsea 5-0 Stoke: Conte explains why he dropped Eden Hazard

CHELSEA strolled to a routine victory at home to Stoke this afternoon.

It took only three minutes for the Blues to take the lead as Antonio Rudiger headed Willian’s free-kick home from six-yards out.

Six minutes later Danny Drinkwater doubled the advantage with a fierce 25-yard drive which nestled in the top corner.

Chelsea’s incredibly quick start got even better when Pedro netted the third of the afternoon on the 23rd minute.

Stoke keeper Jack Butland had to be a his best to prevent a cricket score from occurring at Stamford Bridge.

But when Geoff Cameron brought down Willian in the box 17 minutes from time, the Brazilian rolled the resulting penalty straight down the middle as Butland dived left.

Davide Zappacosta then put the icing on the cake by smashing home the fifth from the edge of the box, two minutes from full-time.

Meanwhile, Antonio Conte insists that Eden Hazard was rested for today’s match against Stoke.

The Belgian star started the game on the bench amid rumours that he’s rejected a new contract offer in order to force through a transfer to Real Madrid.

The clash at Stamford Bridge was the Blues’ second of three games in eight days and Conte selected wingers Pedro and Willian to support Alvaro Morata in attack.

But the Italian refused to suggest that Hazard’s exclusion was for any reason other than to keep him fresh for Wednesday’s crucial trip to Arsenal.

“I think when you play every two days it’s very important to give a bit of rest,” he said.

“Especially for the players that are playing a lot – for us they are very important players.

“I think to make a rotation is the best way, also because I give a chance to other player to show me they deserve to play.

“But in this aspect I am very happy for the responses of my players every time I ask for a response.”

Hazard did not come on for Chelsea, who beat the Potters 5-0 to temporarily leapfrog Manchester United into second-place, with Jose Mourinho’s side in action this evening.

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