Chelsea attacking midfielder Eden Hazard picked up an injury — a surprisingly rare occurrence in his 8-year career as a professional footballer — in a game against Leicester City last month, and made his return to the line-up last Monday against Manchester United, deployed as a striker by manager Guus Hiddink.
Although Hazard admits that he prefers to play on the left wing, he says he was more than happy to be back on the pitch even though the team didn't grab a win at Old Trafford.
"It was good [to be back]. I just want to be on the pitch, it doesn't matter if I'm on the left, right, in the ‘number 10' or as a striker. When we don't have a striker I can help the team out. I just try to do my job and against United I think I did my job."
"I prefer to play on the left wing but if I have to play up front, why not? It just means I need to come a bit deeper to get the ball at my feet but I enjoy it. It's the same, my job is always to try to make the difference."
"When I play as a striker it's important for me to get into the box when crosses come in and try to get across to the front post."
"We were unlucky not to score a goal. The result could have been better but that's football, a draw at Old Trafford is good. Now we play Crystal Palace and we want to start the second half of the season well, we need to start winning games."
Winning would be nice, indeed. But Palace, even at their worst, are a tough prospect at home. And they're far from their worst at the moment.
"It's a tough place to go, we won there last season but it's always difficult. It's a London derby and it will be a good game for us to win. We know they have good players; they defend very well and they can play on the counter attack and keep the ball well."
"We just need to be fully concentrated and hopefully we can win the game. If I can score my first goal of the season it would be very good but obviously the most important thing for us is to win the game."
With half of this (so far) dreadful season gone, Hazard looks forward to what the new year will bring to Chelsea.
"We are in a good way right now, we just need to start winning more games to bring the confidence back and create more positivity. If the second half of the season goes well we can win two trophies so we just want to take it game by game, we don't want to look too far into the future. It's just about winning as many matches as possible."
-Eden Hazard; Source: Chelsea FC
Chelsea's performances are still uneven from match to match but they are still relatively improved when compared to our first showings this season. Here's hoping we can continue on that track - and perhaps win the two trophies that we still have a chance to get this year.