Hazard proves worth to Chelsea but misfiring Morata still struggling

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The Blues dominated Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium but it took a strike from the Belgian, rather than the £60 million man, to break the deadlock

Eden Hazard's 51st-minute winner at Bournemouth was a source of great delight for the Chelsea winger but also came as welcome relief for his struggling team-mate, Alvaro Morata. 

Had the brilliant Belgian not made the breakthrough at the Vitality Stadium, Morata would doubtless have come in for strong criticism for a wasteful evening in front of goal.

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The Spain international has been very effective since arriving at Stamford Bridge but the hamstring injury he suffered against Manchester City has disrupted his rhythm and he was grateful to Hazard for delivering the goods against a dogged Bournemouth side. 

Hazard was putting chances on a plate for Chelsea's No.9 but ultimately had to take matters into his own hands and earn the visitors three precious points, which have propelled the Blues up to fourth in the Premier League standings, just a point behind Tottenham.

Indeed, the 26-year-old's virtuoso performance only made it even clearer that Chelsea simply have to persuade Hazard to renew his contract at the club. He was head and shoulders above everyone else on the pitch.

Morata may be Chelsea's record signing but Hazard remains the club's most valuable player and he has recovered his form quickly despite breaking his ankle during the summer, which resulted in him missing pre-season.

Hazard's fifth strike in five games against the Cherries - who must be sick of the sight of him - was also his 75th goal the club since signing from Lille in 2012. The Belgium captain also now has three goals in his past three matches for Chelsea - which is as many as he had managed in his previous 17 outings.

Eden Hazard Chelsea Bournemouth Premier League

Alvaro Morata Chelsea

Alvaro Morata Chelsea

Morata, meanwhile, isn't the finished article yet and his recent hamstring injury has led to this dip in form. He has no goal in five games but it was the drop in the quality of his build-up play at Bournemouth that might prompt Michy Batshuayi to ask questions of Conte and his team selection. 

Morata lost the ball 15 times and his pass accuracy of 69.6 per cent was lower than any other player to have started the game - bar Bournemouth goalkeeper Asmir Begovic. Batshuayi eventually replaced him up front and has been in good form of late, matching Morata's eight-goal return with less minutes on the pitch.  

Admittedly, Morata was wrongly flagged offside after converting a David Luiz shot and perhaps it will only take a slice of luck to help him rediscover his fine form at the start of the season. 

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However, there's never any room for sympathy at Chelsea, with the harshest criticism coming even at the slightest sight of a drop in quality. 

Morata complained that critics were "killing him" after he missed a penalty in his debut in the Community Shield and those people are waiting to bait him all over again. He needs thick skin to reach his peak at Chelsea and he will have to explain himself again if he doesn't score soon. 

Chelsea's match-winners are Belgian rather than Spanish at the moment. Morata is clearly working his way back into form but patience is in increasingly short supply for strikers in the modern game. 

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