Match ends, Chelsea 2, Hull City 0.
- Chelsea maintain three-point lead
- Two Chelsea players booked for diving
- Bruce furious Cahill not shown red card
- Huddlestone sent off for Hull
Chelsea returned to winning ways in the Premier League with a scrappy victory over 10-man Hull which was marred by diving controversy.
Eden Hazard scored a header early on, but the hosts only made sure of victory after Tom Huddlestone's 60th-minute red card for a challenge on Filipe Luis.
It was Diego Costa who eased Chelsea nerves, sweeping home from close range.
But Chelsea were far from perfect, with Willian and Costa booked for diving and Gary Cahill lucky not to be sent off.
The England defender had already been shown a yellow card for a late challenge in the first half - a tackle on Sone Aluko that Hull manager Steve Bruce thought was deserving of a straight red - and after the break the centre-back went to ground too easily inside the Hull box.
Hull's incensed players surrounded referee Chris Foy, arguing Cahill should have been shown a second yellow for diving, but the Chelsea player escaped punishment and less than 10 minutes later a frustrated Hull were reduced to 10 men.
|Football Focus' Garth Crooks on diving|
|"Twice, Chelsea players have dived in the first 60 minutes - first Willian and Gary Cahill. It's disgraceful. Managers can't say what I'm about to say - it questions the integrity of the refereeing. Is he intimidated by Stamford Bridge? The referee is not being fair. Cahill is on a yellow card and dived. He should have got another booking for that. The only conclusion you can come to is because it's Chelsea and now the injustice has got the Hull players' blood boiling. They're thinking they might as well take the law into their own hands."|
Regardless of whether Cahill deserved to be on the pitch, it was Huddlestone who was guilty of the ugliest moment of the match and rightly sent off for a terrible mistimed lunge on Filipe Luis.
Any hope Hull had of restoring parity evaporated with the former Tottenham player's sending-off, and a team who have now won just one of their last 15 league games find themselves in a relegation scrap.
But with momentum restored following last week's first league defeat of the season, Jose Mourinho's side remain top of the table and maintain their three-point cushion over champions Manchester City, who beat Leicester 1-0.
Hull had never won at Stamford Bridge and did not look like creating history against a team who were unshakable defensively, although they lacked their usual self-assurance going forward in the absence of suspended creator-in-chief Cesc Fabregas.
But with Nemanja Matic back in the Chelsea line-up after serving a one-match ban during the 2-1 defeat at Newcastle, the hosts had ballast in midfield once more, which allowed the impressive Hazard and Oscar to cause trouble in the final third.
All three combined for Chelsea's opening goal, with Matic finding Oscar on the left and the Brazilian floating a cross towards the unmarked Belgian, scoring with a header for only the second time in his career.
The simplicity of the opening goal, plus the sight of Michael Dawson hobbling off with a hamstring injury and Chelsea's dominance of possession in the first 10 minutes, suggested a torrid afternoon was ahead for the visitors.
But Hull's resistance stiffened for the remainder of the first half, and they even created a chance for Aluko, though their striker ballooned his effort wide.
|Eden Hazard shines|
|All of Eden Hazard's last 11 Premier League goals for Chelsea have been scored at home.||The goal against Hull was the Belgian's 29th Premier League goal, but only his second with a header.|
|Of Eden Hazard's 65 goals in Ligue 1 and the Premier League, just two have been headers.||No side has conceded more goals in the opening 15 minutes of Premier League games this season than Hull (who are level with Spurs with six goals conceeded).|
Such is the strength of Chelsea's squad, however, there is little for manager Jose Mourinho to put on his Christmas wish-list.
He was able to replace the injured Thibaut Courtois with last season's first-choice keeper Petr Cech, making his first Premier League start of the season, and the Czech had an easy afternoon between the sticks.
Even Costa, whose yellow card for diving came after the break, ended his four-game scoring drought, finding the bottom left corner from close range for his 12th goal of the season after good work by Hazard.
- 24CahillBooked at 38mins
- 3Filipe Luís
- 12MikelSubstituted forSantos do Nascimentoat 82'minutes
- 22WillianBooked at 31minsSubstituted forSchürrleat 80'minutes
- 8OscarSubstituted forDrogbaat 78'minutes
- 10E Hazard
- 19Diego CostaBooked at 58mins
- 7Santos do Nascimento
- 27El Mohamady
- 5ChesterBooked at 66mins
- 21DawsonSubstituted forBruceat 10'minutesBooked at 57mins
- 8HuddlestoneBooked at 60mins
- 7MeylerBooked at 26mins
- 18JelavicSubstituted forRamírezat 74'minutes
- 24AlukoSubstituted forBradyat 64'minutes
- Chris Foy
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Chelsea 2, Hull City 0.
Corner, Hull City. Conceded by John Terry.
Foul by Filipe Luis (Chelsea).
Ahmed Elmohamady (Hull City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Hull City. Conceded by Didier Drogba.
Attempt blocked. Robbie Brady (Hull City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Dangerous play by Diego Costa (Chelsea).
Ahmed Elmohamady (Hull City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Nemanja Matic (Chelsea).
Gastón Ramírez (Hull City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt blocked. André Schürrle (Chelsea) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Diego Costa.
Attempt blocked. André Schürrle (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Didier Drogba.
Substitution, Chelsea. Ramires replaces John Obi Mikel.
Foul by Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea).
David Meyler (Hull City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Chelsea. André Schürrle replaces Willian.
Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Robbie Brady.
Substitution, Chelsea. Didier Drogba replaces Oscar.
Attempt missed. Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Diego Costa.