Obviously it's just one game, but the early signs are good that Eden Hazard is ready to maintain his good form that began at the end of last season and continued through the summer's European Championships and pre-season as well. He looks healthy, motivated, and perhaps most importantly, not shying away from running at defenders and taking a few shots. A healthy Hazard is a happy Hazard and a happy Hazard is a happy Chelsea.
Hazard: "My team-mates want me to be at the top. It’s easier to win with Eden at the top than with the Eden from last season." [#Chelsea TV]— Chelsea HQ (@Chelsea_HQ) August 15, 2016
The kid was his usual jovial self in the post-match interview with Chelsea TV, also revealing that he deliberately changed up his penalty-taking routine after the misses last season.
Q: You normally just stroke the ball when taking a penalty? - Hazard: "I need to change because the goalkeepers know now." [#Chelsea TV]— Chelsea HQ (@Chelsea_HQ) August 15, 2016
Hazard seemed to tire a bit as the game wore on, and was replaced by Victor Moses with a few minutes to go. The changes brought the required injection of fresh energy that gave Chelsea the victory, but Conte, as usual, expects continuous improvement.
"Eden played a good game. He has great ability and is very important in this team. I am very pleased with his performance but I know, and he knows, that he can improve a lot."
-Antonio Conte; source: FourFourTwo
Chelsea showed desire not seen in well over a year on Monday, Hazard just one of many in the team who looked to have exorcised a lot of last season's demons with the win over West Ham. It's only 1 game of 38, but it's one to cherish for now.