After scoring just 1 goal in 4 games, Chelsea exploded for 4 goals in just 1 game on Saturday, scoring twice inside the first few minutes then adding a couple more late in the second-half to make sure of the three points.
All four tallies were quality strikes — 4 goals from 1.63 xG tends to call for that — and we’d be hard-pressed to rank them with any degree of certainty. Needless to say, Eden Hazard was central to most of them, finishing two of the four and getting the secondary assist in the wonderful team move for Willian’s goal. But those plays are just a small portion of Hazard’s stellar day, as we can see in the individual highlights at the top.
When Hazard is in the mood, he is often unplayable. And when he’s unplayable, Chelsea tend to win. As we know, his consistency and his killer instinct could use improvement, but those “flaws” (if we want to call them flaws), that carefree attitude are part of what make him who he is.
“When you score early you have confidence to play so it is more easy to move. When the game is close, sometimes you don’t find space between the lines. In this game we did, we had confidence to play and try a lot of things that normally you don’t try because it is 0-0 or we are winning 1-0.
“We started the game very well. The combination between Michy, Willian and me, and the midfield was brilliant, so we need to do more like this week after week. But at the end of the first half we had a problem and even though Thibaut was not here, Willy [Caballero] was there and he saved some goals today and at the end of the game we won by 4-0 and that was good.”
Having now seen Eden play around 300 games for Chelsea, all told, it’s easy to take his quality for granted, to not appreciate the good and concentrate on the bad. Familiarity breeds contempt, after all, which means we have to actively work to appreciate the good things in our day-to-day lives. That’s as true in sports as it is in all other walks of life.
“It is my job to score. Every game I try to score goals and create chances and that is why I like to play football, to enjoy on the pitch and score goals.
“When I watch the game after I want to see this sort of thing [the way Chelsea played against Brighton], not just my goals but when we create chances like this. I am happy for that, not my two goals, but for the way we are moving, passing the ball, and that is why we love football. We try to do this every game, sometimes it happens, sometimes not and in this game it did so we are happy.”
-Eden Hazard; source: Chelsea FC
With his brace, Hazard moved into third place all-time on Chelsea’s Premier League “points” list (i.e. goals+assists), one ahead of his spiritual predecessor, Gianfranco Zola. Perhaps with another 5-6 years, he could even end up challenging Frank Lampard in this respect!
102 - Eden Hazard has now scored (65) or assisted (37) 102 Premier League goals for @ChelseaFC; taking him ahead of Gianfranco Zola (101) to outright third for the club in the competition. Class.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 20, 2018
In case you still haven’t had your fill of Eden Hazard awesomeness, here he is giving his shirt to a young fan whose reaction is priceless (and his dad’s, too!).
And here he is joking around with Willian like two schoolchildren who said something naughty about the headmaster. This is of course now being reported as a “dig” at Antonio Conte, but clearly this is all in good fun. Sure, many a true word is spoken in jest, but if you’re reading into this beyond just the funniness, you’re taking this far more seriously than any of the parties actually involved. (You can watch the full “interview” on the Chelsea official website, and check the end of the tunnel cam for another look where Eden tries to bring in Michy for a word, too.)
Hazard and Willian joked in a post-match interview today about how easy is to play together and Eden coughed "but.. Antonio you know" pic.twitter.com/YEwDGSrYfc— Dumitrel Miron (@mynameisdumi) January 20, 2018
P.S.: Let’s get that contract extension done, y’all.