Hazard explains how Arsenal actually helped Chelsea become title contenders

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Eden Hazard has labelled Chelsea’s defeat to Arsenal in September as an early turning point in the season.

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Having drawn to Swansea City and been beaten by Liverpool, the 3-0 loss at the Emirates Stadium marked the end of a difficult month for Antonio Conte.

Since the sobering defeat to Arsene Wenger’s side, which was wrapped up before half-time thanks to goals from Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil, Chelsea have won five straight league games.

The Blues’ impressive upturn in form has seen the club climb to within two points of the Premier League summit – Chelsea will go top with a win at Middlesbrough on Sunday.

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And Hazard, who has rediscovered his form this term after struggling last season, says ‘everything changed’ after the Arsenal clash.

‘Up to now, under him [Conte], we’re being rewarded for the work we’re putting in,’ Hazard told the Guardian.

‘Everything changed at Arsenal. A turning point. We were losing 3-0, we were beaten, but we got together – coaching staff and players – and determined then things would improve.

‘It was a crossroads. From the first day I arrived at Chelsea four years ago, and even last season, I’ve never sensed panic among the players.

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‘We are professionals. We know when we’re playing badly so, if you have a poor game, you work in training to put things right so form comes back. So that is what we did.

The 25-year-old, who already has seven league goals this season, added: ‘We reminded ourselves we are good players, we know our qualities.

‘We have to work, work, work and make things better. Something just clicked.’

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