Eden Hazard is, as a certain shaggy-haired Geezer would say, “enjoying the life” at Chelsea these days.
On the pitch, Sarri-ball is slowly blooming. Initial returns couldn’t be better, with four wins from four and Hazard getting either a goal or an assist in each of the four. He’s scored in both of his starts (albeit one from the penalty spot) and he created a goal in each of his game-changing substitute appearances.
Off the pitch, things may be more complicated and that new contract remains unsigned (and may stay that way for a while yet), but unhappy players don’t tend to bring their kids to the stadium and onto the pitch after games. Hazard’s sharing his own positive experiences with the most important people in his life, and those experiences involve Chelsea, and that can only be a good thing.
It’s rare you see Eden Hazard bring his kids onto the pitch after games but he’s done just that today - and they certainly enjoyed their little kick-about with him. #CFC— Vaishali Bhardwaj (@VaiBhardwaj) September 1, 2018
On the training ground, there appears to be a warm relationship with his boss. Gone are the barely-hidden tensions with Antonio Conte. Obviously, this is just one moment out of many — Conte and Costa always seemed to get along in on-camera moments, too — but it’s certainly a good sign and hopefully telling of their interactions, in general, at Cobham.
The relationship between Maurizio Sarri and Eden Hazard continues to blossom. Here they are joking around during today's #CFC training session [31.08.18] pic.twitter.com/Rdtv2ZrDNY— cfcsnaps (@cfcsnaps) August 31, 2018
And, last but not least, here he is in his own words. Although the transfer window is closed and his father says that a move to Real Madrid is now dead, Eden doesn’t sound like a man being forced to compromise. He seems to be relishing an aggressive style of play that Chelsea haven’t attempted since the days of AVB and Carlo Ancelotti.
“I’m feeling confident, I’m enjoying my football, we have a new manager and lots of good players. I know when I play good the team play good, so I need to be ready for everything. The season is long, but we will fight to the end, and we will keep improving.”
Despite fitness concerns, Hazard played the full 90 in both of the last two games, and on Saturday he was still full of running at the end. He also kept hunting for his shot, something Sarri’s been working with him on in training. This is the more aggressive Eden.
Eddie Howe said after the match that he was generally satisfied with the way Bournemouth double-teamed Hazard to keep him off the scoresheet for most of the match. But Eden wasn’t deterred or disheartened.
“We were always confident we would score. When you’re playing like that you have to be patient. We have a lot of players that can score any minute. We did well to keep the ball and move it quickly, because we were too slow in the first half.”
-Eden Hazard; source: Football.London
Eden is one of the frontrunners for the role of Chelsea captain — Sarri will decide who it will be after the international break — but the way things are going right now, it doesn’t look like he needs any more motivation.
After years of thinking that Chelsea’s star forward was perhaps falling short of his potential, it’s starting to look like Chelsea have finally hired a coach who can bring us Peak Hazard.
% start and the perfect way to head into the international break! #CHEBOU pic.twitter.com/R2ng9Du8cY— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) September 1, 2018