In what can only be described as a phenomenal performance, Chelsea ran against all odds and grabbed an unforeseen 2-0 win over defending champions Manchester City at Stamford Bridge. Much of that thanks to a inspired night from Eden Hazard.
Hazard recorded 39 touches on the ball and 14 completed passes throughout the 90 minutes he spent on the pitch, deployed as a false nine by Sarri for the second time this season — and first as a starter. 2 of those passes were the assists to the two goals we scored today.
And unlike most of his experiences in such a role under his previous managers, Hazard was a true weapon for our side — especially in the second half, as we fully enjoyed City’s frustration of getting caught in the losing side of the scoreline. And that will not be the first time we will see him playing in this role, as Sarri plans to utilise such an option more often in the future.
Sarri on Hazard false 9: "Maybe he deserved to score, it is a good option. Maybe he will play there more." #CFC #CHEMCI #MCFC— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) December 8, 2018
When Sarri was brought to Chelsea in July this year, many anticipated him to eventually go and try to do with Hazard what he did with the Chelsea star’s Belgian national team teammate Dries Mertens at Napoli: transform him into a weapon as a centre-forward in the false nine role. The first trial did not provide a good outcome in the brief time it was employed, as a response to going up 3-0 against Tottenham last month. But the second time was an absolute charm.
8 - Eden Hazard has now assisted a league-high eight goals in the Premier League this season, which is double the tally he assisted in 34 apps last season (4). Wizard. #CHEMCI pic.twitter.com/RAsXrO31n9— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 8, 2018
Maybe that is the answer to our ongoing centre-forward struggles? From the looks of it, we shall find out soon.