As promised, Eden Hazard made his preseason debut on Saturday against Real Madrid, coming on as second-half substitute and initially taking his place in the customary left-wing position.
But in the final quarter of an hour, once Preseason All-Star Victor Moses entered the scene, Eden Hazard pushed to the center and played as the second striker in Conte's 4-2-4. The Chelsea front line at that point was: Moses (left) - Hazard (small) - Batshuayi (big) - Cuadrado (right). And it was working a treat, albeit against what was mostly Real Madrid's B team.
Still, it was a conscious experiment from the boss, and he was pleased with the results.
"Eden Hazard played 30 minutes and he is recovering a good shape. I like him in this position, like a forward, and he can be a good solution for us. Also playing as a winger. To play as a second forward he must improve his shape but he is working and he knows his shape can a lot in the same way as the other players."
-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC
Conte also praised Batshuayi and even Loftus-Cheek ("I know he can play in this role and play good football"), but it was Hazard who seemed to stake the biggest claim for a potential shake-up along the front line.
So, what do we think? Is Eden Hazard the second striker we deserve and need, alongside either Costa or (Lukaku?) or Batshuayi in the first-choice starting eleven?