LONDON - Eden Hazard scored a hat-trick as Chelsea capitalised on Arsenal's crushing defeat at Liverpool by beating Newcastle United 3-0 to claim top spot in the Premier League yesterday.
Arsenal's 5-1 demolition at Anfield earlier in the day handed their nearest rivals an opportunity to leapfrog them at the top of the table and Chelsea took full advantage at Stamford Bridge.
Manchester City were unable to follow suit, however, drawing 0-0 at Norwich City and slipping to third place in the process.
Hazard broke the deadlock in the 27th minute with a first-time finish from a Branislav Ivanovic pass and the Belgian added a second seven minutes later following a neat back-heel by Samuel Eto'o.
A foul on Eto'o by Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa presented Hazard with an opportunity to complete his first Chelsea hat-trick from the penalty spot in the 63rd minute and he duly obliged by sending Tim Krul the wrong way.
"I know today we are top of the league, but I look to fifth place," said Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.
"When we are far from fifth and have a Champions League position under control, then it will be time to look at Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool and see where they are and see the distances."
Victory took Chelsea a point above Arsenal and two points clear of City, who were unable to repeat their 7-0 annihilation of Norwich from earlier in the season.