Although Nemanja Matic stole the plaudits (and the official man of the match award) at the Etihad on Monday, there were plenty of players who deserve some attention. One, in fact, might have been better than the Serbian: Eden Hazard.
Hazard's been on fire for a few months now, but he was yet to completely torch a top-class right back over the course of ninety minutes. It's one thing to rip mediocre defenders to shreds; it's quite another to do it to Pablo Zabaleta, who's quietly become one of the finest all-around fullbacks in the world. Did that matter? Nope. There was absolutely nothing he could do to stop Hazard doing basically whatever he wanted.
It's kind of amazing that Hazard didn't get a goal (don't backheel to nobody, silly boy) or an assist in this match. He was a constant, ferocious terror -- while Willian, Ramires and Samuel Eto'o worked hard and caused problems, Hazard was the man who inspired the most fear because he alone looked like he had the quality to play in the killer ball. We're not just watching the Belgian go through a purple patch anymore. This is how he can perform, even against elite teams.
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