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Hazard closing in on Zola record while hoping Chelsea can close gap to Manchester City

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You do NOT want to make Eden Hazard angry

Early on in Saturday’s game, Eden Hazard was clattered into by Gareth Barry, who got full value for his money by getting both of Hazard’s feet with just one tackle and somehow also convincing referee Jonathan Moss that there was nothing to see there. Hazard stayed down for some time trying to garner some sympathy, but he wasn’t getting any from either the referee or the fans. Eventually he picked himself up and limped around for a while.

In a way, it was reminiscent of the blatant foul that was not called on him away at Roma, which proved to be a turning point for Chelsea as Hazard never looked up for it after that and Chelsea crumbled in the second half in one of the worst games we’ve seen in some time.

But on Saturday, Hazard didn’t sulk or shy away. He got angry. He even got a yellow, harshly we might add, for “retaliation”. But where he really hurt Barry and West Brom was on the scoresheet, making fools of the midfielder for Chelsea’s first goal (assist not officially credited since Morata tapped in the rebound from the goalkeeper’s save) and then adding a brace for good measure. He was officially credited with 9 take-ons, which is always a good sign that he was willing to run at defenders, to create both for himself (4 shots) and others.

Hazard now has 60 goals in the Premier League for Chelsea, which makes him the fourth leading goalscorer for the Blues in the competition (i.e. since 1992), one ahead of Gianfranco Zola.

Hazard is also closing in on Zola in terms of total goals scored in all competitions, now trailing the magic man by just three. With 77 in 5.5 seasons, Hazard is already 17th on the list of all-time goalscorers with Gudjohnsen (78), Zola (80), JFH (87) all within striking distance as he closes in on a century.

And speaking of closing in, for Hazard, the only thing that really matters is the team’s record and while we did move up a spot to third from fourth thanks to Spurs losing at Arsenal, we remain nine points behind rampant Manchester City. But Hazard sees no reason not to go on another nice, long winning streak (by Conte’s beard!) and be within striking distance should something unfortunate befall Guardiola’s designs.

“We have to do the same every week. Now we have a tough week because we play Qarabag away and then we go to Anfield. We want to stay near the top. We know Man City are winning a lot of games but we need to try and close the gap and then we will see at the end of the season.

“The run last season was unbelievable, it’s not every year you can do that, but why not? We have almost the same players and we have to be ready if we want to stay near the top.”

-Eden Hazard; source: Chelsea FC

So say we all.