The Eden Hazard at number 10 experiment appears to have lasted a grand total of two matches: Stoke City away and Norwich City at home. Against Maccabi Tel-Aviv in midweek, Chelsea were back to the usual configuration of Hazard on the left and Willian on the right, with Oscar this time through the middle. As I'm sure many remember — with varying level of fondness — Oscar was supposed to be the quintessential number 10 for Mourinho Mk.II, though the midfielder has yet to consistently reproduce the abilities that led the manager to make that choice and declaration. Willian and Cesc Fabregas have both seen time there, depending on matchup and form, also with varying levels of success.
While Chelsea do play with a certain amount of fluidity — somewhere in the middle between Di Matteo's whirly-burly with the "MaZaCar" and Interim's rigid setup with Mata in the middle — starting positions do matter. Last season, for example, Hazard ruled the left wing, Willian started right and drifted inside, and Oscar harried and hassled in the middle. They interchanged as needed, but they all knew their specific responsibilities.
With that in mind, it's hardly unsurprising that Mourinho's a bit reluctant to use Hazard as his number 10. The manager clearly has his own ideas what he expects from that position — the expectations do differ I'm sure when Fabregas gets played there instead of either of the two Brazilians — and his expectations are no doubt different from what Hazard brings to the table.
"We have different concepts of number 10, me and him. For me a number 10 does a lot of things, with the ball and without the ball. So for me a number 10 is a very special player in my team."
"With a system of two midfield players and one number 10, I demand a lot from a number 10. I like a number 10 to score goals. I like a number 10 to get in the box. I like a number 10 to score goals like Oscar's against Maccabi Tel Aviv. A number 10 for me is an eight-and-a-half when the team loses the ball, and the number 10 is a nine-and-a-half when the team has the ball."
"Who is my perfect number 10? Wesley Sneijder and Deco. Because they could defend, get in the box and finish goals? Yes."
-Jose Mourinho; source: Telegraph
This, unsurprisingly, is exactly what's been asked of Oscar all these years. He may not always deliver, though he does deliver on both fronts better than Willian or Fabregas or, as it turns out, Hazard. Don't expect to see Eden there too often, especially not against teams like Spurs, where we'll need to the number 10 to put pressure on their central midfielders.