Twelve months ago, Chelsea were Premier League champions, Eden Hazard was Premier League Player of the Year, Jose Mourinho was coach for life, and everything was great. As we know, it was all downhill from there, and amazingly quickly even, starting with a summer of inaction capped off with a day of panic and Papy Djilobodji. All that hope quickly turned to despair.
This time around, the feelings are trending the other way. Last season was undeniably terrible, but it ended on a positive note, both in terms of results (HA-HA Spurs) and individual play. The aggressive boredom of Hiddink's tenure is about to replaced by the bursting passion of Antonio Conte. Chelsea just spent big on yet another highly promising youngster, signaling a possible return to our transfer market m.o. of a few seasons ago that saw us land the likes of Lukaku and De Bruyne before the rest of the football world started talking about them. There's hope of further signings, with much needed reinforcements in defense and midfield. Even if that hope doesn't quite pan out, we seem to be operating a bit less foolishly than when we pursued the likes of John Stones and Wayne Rooney.
And then there's Eden Hazard, the man who couldn't quite lead Belgium to the promised land, but played about as well as he ever has for the national team. His performance against Hungary in the Round of 16 remains the best individual performance of the tournament, and even though they failed at the next hurdle, Hazard was quite good against Wales, too.