Newly tattooed Eden Hazard was up to a lot of his old tricks on Saturday against Swansea, leading the team in dribbles and take-ons and winning three fouls, joint-most with Diego Costa. It wasn’t quite a top-top performance — just the one shot on goal, for example — but it was better than the level for which he often seems to settle against “lesser” opposition. Swansea head coach Paul Clement simply called him “dangerous” and certainly at times, he was just that, most notably on Chelsea’s third goal when he absolutely destroyed Kyle Naughton before finding Costa for the nice finish.
In true Hazard style though, it’s the win that made him the happiest, not the individual stats.
“For me it is the same if I score, don’t score or assist. Even if I don’t make an assist or score goals – if I play a good game and we win, I will be the first man happy on the pitch.”
Many top stars might say similar things, but Hazard does truly live this attitude. Which possibly prevents him from getting to that final level as a player (i.e. the Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo echelon), but I think we’ve made our peace with that. Eden Hazard is more adorable this way anyway.
“The manager said before the game that we had to stay patient. Sometimes teams come to Stamford Bridge and they defend well. It is up to us to find the solution and we did that.”
“...we won the league two years ago so we know what to do. We have been first for a few months, we want to stay at the top and we have to take it game after game.”
-Eden Hazard; source: Chelsea FC
Two years ago, the second-half of the season was a true grind towards the title. In the final 13 matches before securing the title against Crystal Palace, Chelsea had won just one match by more than a one-goal margin. This time around, our last six league wins have all been by two-goal margins or more. The plan is working well still in 2017, two unlucky draws and one deserved loss to Spurs aside.
Next up will be West Ham at the Olympic Stadium, the site of one of just four losses all season. We’ll need much of the same from Hazard then.