Eden Hazard’s renaissance continued as Chelsea secured a hard fought 4-2 victory over Werder Bremen in their final pre-season friendly on saturday afternoon.
Antonio Conte named a strong side and they needed just a matter of minutes to open the scoring when Hazard worked a short corner well before cutting inside and lashing an effort into the bottom corner of the net.
The Bundesliga side were all at sea at the back and Oscar exchanged passes with Diego Costa to create a yard of space before slotting home to double the Blues’ advantage with just 10 minutes on the clock.
But the hosts soon came back into the game as Zlatko Junuzovic rattled the crossbar courtesy of a long-range strike and Sambou Yatabare fired wide after Willian’s loose pass.
Costa had two chances in quick succession which Bremen did brilliantly well to deflect away to safety and, just minutes after the Blues should have been out of sight, Bremen got back into the game when Nemanja Matic felled Junuzovic inside the penalty area.
Former Chelsea striker Claudio Pizarro made no mistake from 12 yards and sent Thibaut Courtois the wrong way but Costa restored his side’s two-goal cushion on the stroke of half time as he finished with aplomb after yet more impressive build up play by Hazard.
Matic made way for Cesc Fabregas at the break but Hazard continued to orchestrate the Blues’ forward play. Bremen could not cope with the Belgian’s direct runs and he laid another chance on a plate for Costa, but the striker poked an effort just wide of the target.
Lapses in concentration continued to plague Chelsea and Courtois was beaten for the second time when Lennart Thy fizzed an effort into the bottom corner from the edge of the penalty area.
For a man who prides himself on defensive solidity Conte will be keen to right such wrongs in the final week of training before Chelsea open their Premier League campaign against West Ham.
Pedro added gloss to the scoreline when he fired in at the death but, despite the positive outlook that has been ushered in by Conte’s arrival, there is still plenty of work to be done