It probably hasn't escaped anyone's attention that Eden Hazard has managed to elevate his game yet again this season. While last year he was forced into a role that rolled playmaking, dribbling and finishing duties all into one, the arrivals of more dangerous players over the summer has freed him up to do what he does best. He's now the Premier League's top lockpick, the man who disrupts the defence for long enough for the rest of his team to take advantage, and while that role probably costs him in terms of fantasy football points, it's far better for Chelsea to see the Belgian cripple the opposition lines before the ball goes in two passes later.
Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, then have had a huge impact on the way Hazard plays. But how long did it take him to get to know the two Spanish internationals? Not long at all, it turns out:
The time it takes to develop a relationship on the pitch depends on the guy. Sometimes it’s quick, sometimes not. But it’s easy for me to play with them because they understand football and are very good players. We didn’t need to train two years together, just one week was enough. They know when I move and I know when Costa and Fabregas move. It’s a pleasure to play with them.
I don’t know how much better this team can get — we will see. Now we are first in the table and I hope we can stay there until the end of the season. I hope we can win a lot of trophies this season, one, two or three. Why not?
The best club sides have a sort of preternatural understanding between their players, which means that they don't have to take the time to work out where they need to get the ball. Instead, they can just go, knowing that everyone is on the same wavelength. This might be the key to the aforementioned trio's interchange: if they don't even need to look up to play the perfect pass, the opposition back line has even less time to react.
That the Blues sometimes make tearing through a defence look like the easiest thing in the world is mostly down to this understanding, and while a lot of that is thanks to the training the manager gives them, the rest is simply due to the fact that we have some very clever players sitting around.