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Chelsea soap opera rumbles on

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 By Phil Lythell

Eden Hazard nets first two of the season as Chelsea draw 3-3 with Roma

Chelsea came from behind to grab a 3-3 draw with Roma in a topsy-turvy game at Stamford Bridge.

The first half was a surprisingly open affair with both teams fashioning multiple chances. Chelsea were content to allow the visitors much of the ball and play on the counterattack and an early link-up between Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata tested the goalkeeper Alisson. Roma had a decent chance of their own when Diego Perotti weaved his way through Chelsea's midfield before firing just over from the edge of the area.

The deadlock was broken after just 11 minutes when David Luiz gathered a loose ball and curled it into the bottom corner from long range. After decent Roma pressure, Radja Nainggolan should have drawn his team level but could only fire straight at Thibaut Courtois when through on goal. Hazard extended Chelsea's lead when he latched onto Morata's cross but Roma halved the deficit five minutes before half-time through a deflected Aleksandar Kolarov shot. 

The Serie A side kept pressing in the second half and dominated the play. They deservedly drew level when Erin Dzeko fired a spectacular volley past Courtois and then took the lead when the former Manchester City striker nodded home a Kolarov cross shortly after. Chelsea responded admirably with Pedro's cross being met by the head of Hazard and nestling in the bottom corner.  Either team could have won it late on but both had to be content with a draw.

ChelseaChelsea
AS RomaAS Roma
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Positives

The clinical finishing in the first half compensated for the team being largely on the back foot. Clawing their way back into the contest after falling 3-2 behind showed the spirit within. 

Negatives

The way the midfield was overrun even with three players in there was worrying. There was also a clear lack of confidence in the side and far too much ball-watching rather than positive intent.

Manager rating out of 10

6 -- Antonio Conte opting for a counter-attacking approach might have been understandable at kick-off though it was telling how much more effective Chelsea were once they had a third forward on the pitch. The time and space allowed to Roma was ultimately punished.

Player ratings (1-10, 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Thibaut Courtois, 7 -- Made an excellent stop to deny his compatriot Nainggolan in the first half. Had little chance with any of the goals. 

DF Gary Cahill, 6 -- Made some important interceptions but didn't use the ball well and invited pressure back onto the team. Ended the game with his head heavily bandaged.

DF Andreas Christensen, 6 -- A difficult night for the young Dane who was given a lesson by the excellent Dzeko. Was another to lack precision when passing from the back

DF Cesar Azpilicueta, 5 -- A rare off day for the Spaniard who was at fault for the first goal after failing to deal with Kolarov's run. Better after half-time but not his usual imposing self.

MF Marcos Alonso, 7 -- Provided an outlet and was untroubled defensively. Made no telling contributions going forward. 

MF Davide Zappacosta, 6 -- An erratic performance with some good moments mixed in with some difficult ones. Made some decent forward runs coupled with some good crosses.

After a slow start to the season, Eden Hazard looked himself with a brace against Roma.

MF David Luiz, 7 -- Scored a lovely goal and generally bulldozed around the pitch. Did not add total cohesion in midfield but was all action until his withdrawal through injury.

MF Cesc Fabregas, 5 -- An almost entirely ineffectual display from the midfielder. Struggled to find space to affect the game and was bypassed during Roma's attacks. 

MF Tiemoue Bakayoko, 6 -- Was beaten far too easily when conceding the free kick from which Roma took the lead. Lacked the presence his physique demands.

FW Eden Hazard, 8 -- As is often the case, Hazard was the most dangerous looking player in a blue shirt. Was always on the lookout for a chance to attack and took both his goals well.

FW Alvaro Morata, 7 -- Looked sharp in the first half as he dovetailed wonderfully with Hazard. Waned after the break with his flicks and tricks being read and sniffed out by Roma's backline.

Substitutes

FW Pedro Rodriguez, 8 -- Made a big impression after coming on for Luiz and laid on the cross for the equaliser.

FW Willian, NR -- Had little impact to compound a worrying downturn in form.

DF Antonio Rudiger, NR -- Provided a reassuring defensive presence after his introduction. 

Phil is one of ESPN's Chelsea bloggers. You can follow him on Twitter @PhilLythell.

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