Eden Hazard, ever the jokester, decided to tease Big Bad Manchester City on the eve of the showdown at Stamford Bridge. Was this wise? Considering the predictions of an apocalypse and Chelsea’s only hope of getting anything out of this game being Hazard himself, it’s probably a safe move. Can’t get much worse, can it? And a confident Hazard can conquer the world, in theory at least.
“But it’s true they don’t have an Eden Hazard. That is the difference!”
What City do have is just about everything else, which Hazard also acknowledged with a few obvious and solid truths. We’d all be well advised to pay attention; after all, City is where Sarri’s Chelsea hope to be in a year or two, hopefully with Hazard still in tow.
“I think that City find more solutions in their play than we do. We have plenty of possession, but we often have to rely on individual actions to score goals.
“City are all about team play. You can see a lot of movement from them. That creates spaces, they get their crosses in, and I think they have more answers that way.
“They also create more chances, and score more goals.”
Hardly anything controversial in there, but leave it to the media to somehow spin all this into a transfer rumor. No surer way to feed grist into the media mill than to dangle a spectacular transfer story.
Pep Guardiola promptly shot down any such nonsense, but that just meant that they got at least two stories out of it.
“That is not going to happen. No.”
Pep’s more concerned with what Hazard could do to his team, at least in theory.
“[How dangerous can he be?] A lot. I’m agreeing with you. He said ‘I’m so good’ that I’m agreeing with him. Switch on the TV, look at him, immediately you realise his qualities. You [the media] know his qualities better than me. He’s an exceptional player. One, by far, one of the best players in the world.”
-Pep Guardiola; source: Goal
Last time Chelsea met Manchester City, it turned into a meeting of the Sarri-Guardiola Mutual Admiration Society before City promptly destroyed Chelsea. Hazard did not play in that game and Sarri has had four months to work with the squad since. It will be an excellent test to see how far we’ve come.