Chelsea drew against Barcelona. Messi finally scored against Chelsea for the first time in a decade. Willian hit the post twice and scored once thereby completing a phenomenal performance against one of the best teams in the world. Andreas Christensen committed an error.
These are the main talking points of the match, which means that there is one name and one performance that has gone largely unnoticed: Eden Hazard’s.
Some Hazard stats ahead of tonight... pic.twitter.com/geRalrF4pA— Chelsea News App (@CFCNewsApp) February 20, 2018
Hazard grabbed an assist and quietly went on to have a good game even though he was playing out of position.
Hazard — 1 assist, 3 key passes, 4 successful dribbles, dispossessed twice
Messi — 1 goal, 1 key pass, 2 successful dribbles, dispossessed 6 times
Yet, for reasons unknown, Messi’s performance is being hailed as amazing while Hazard’s is being ignored.
Speaking to Belgian media after the game, Hazard spoke the about the return leg, our chances of qualifying for the next round and the tactics needed to achieve this.
“At least we won’t be able to think defensively in the second leg because if we think defensively over there we will be in a lot of danger.
“We will go there trying to win because we have to score and we will try for the perfect game as we did today except for the small error that we made. That’s what made the difference because you’re up against Barcelona.”
“Against other teams, perhaps you get away without letting in a goal. We played well. We had a plan to defend well, Perhaps we could have done more with the ball when we had it. It’s not over. We can still dream. Qualification is still possible.”
Indeed, the margin for error at this level is very minuscule, as we found out yesterday. Against teams like Barcelona, and specifically Lionel Messi, you need to be at your best for the entire 90 minutes, that’s what makes them so dangerous.
“We contained him well today. When he’s outside the box he’s less dangerous than in it. He had one touch in the box today and he scored. That’s the difference he makes.”
-Eden Hazard; source: Evening Standard.
Hazard will surely be looking to prove a point in the second leg, and perhaps be Chelsea’s match-winner much like Messi has gotten Barca the goal that currently puts them ahead in the tie.
Hazard certainly has the talent and the motivation. Here’s hoping he turns on the heat in the second leg...