Eden Hazard came to Chelsea in large part due to one magical night in Munich, when Petr Čech, Didier Drogba, and the rest of that legendary Chelsea team snatched the trophy with the Big Ears from right underneath Bayern’s noses. But while Chelsea have won the Premier League a couple times since (plus a League Cup, an FA Cup, and a Europa League title for good measure), success in the Champions League has so far eluded Hazard’s Blues. In fact, the closest we have come was the semifinal in 2014 against none other than Atlético Madrid, when the team couldn’t follow through on a decent result away from home (0-0) and instead were shocked 3-1 at Stamford Bridge. Hazard was one of the scapegoats from the night, failing to track back on Juanfran a couple times and put on public blast by José “I never blame my players” Mourinho.
But the past is the past and bygones are bygones and while Hazard’s tactical awareness and willingness to track back has improved since, Conte has mostly decided not fight fire with fire and instead has favored giving Eden a role more fitting his shirt number, the free role of a trequartista.
So it was on Wednesday as well, with Hazard and Morata, the duo that on paper should lead Chelsea to many wins and trophies, ready to swing into action for the first time ever from the word go — Morata the center forward, Hazard the playmaker, with supporting runs from behind by one or more of the central midfielders and the two wing-backs. Conte’s 3-5-2 was working like a charm, against one of the strongest defenses in all of Europe, even, and Eden Hazard was at the center of it all. It may have taken 60 minutes to get the first goal, but with a bit of luck, Chelsea could’ve had a few more.
Afterwards, Hazard reflected on what was his biggest win in a Chelsea shirt on a European night (he was injured for most of the 2-0 comeback against PSG in 2014).
“Since I came here, I think it is the first time we have beaten a really good and strong team in the Champions League.
"We did well. There were not just a few moments, it was from the first minute to the end of the game. That means we are a good team and have good players.
“We should have scored more than two, but sometimes it's good win at the end, the feeling is very good."
-Eden Hazard; source: Evening Standard
The other day, rumors of a contract extension and massive pay rise to £300k per week were resurrected, framed in the sense of Hazard proving himself worthy of it on the biggest (i.e. European) stage. First test passed with flying colors, I do believe.
EDEN HAZARD POST-ATLETICO
'My target is not to score, it's just to win games. If I don't score, no problem!' - Eden HazardPosted by Chelsea Football Club on Thursday, September 28, 2017