Separated by just a point in the table and with each team winning four times in the last eight meetings in all competitions, it feels like the primary distance between Chelsea and Spurs has shrunk to just the reliable entity of Spursiness. In their current run of successfully keeping the pressure on, Spurs have also bested Chelsea in seeing through and completing the build of a new stadium, while the Blues’ plans were suddenly halted over Roman Abramovich’s problems renewing his UK visa.
Spurs have a decent chance at finishing ahead of Chelsea in the table for the second year in a row as well, which would be the first such occurrence since Eden Hazard was five years old.
After curling in his seventeenth goal on the day our crosstown rivals cracked the champagne on their new and shiny fortress of trying, Hazard — with a striking awareness of his surroundings both on and off the pitch — decided they could do with a humbling:
“I think Tottenham for two or three years have been one of the best teams in England — that is for sure.”
“We are Chelsea and it is a big derby. I don’t like [Spurs becoming one of the best teams] but we have to accept it. For the Premier League it is good — new stadium and they have top players.”
“But we won a lot of trophies, they have not, so I hope this continues.”
-Eden Hazard; Source: Evening Standard
We can talk about that mentality and how trophies over everything — to include actual team construction and a defined style — is a big factor in Chelsea’s current uncertainty. But none of that is for Hazard to work out. He can only control what’s in his power, and ribbing Spurs is well within his range.
A rare bond is created when your team’s favorite and best players despise, or at least love to troll, your rivals. Sure, Spurs employ some of Hazard’s Belgian teammates, and likely other players whom Hazard is friends with off the pitch. But Spurs are still Spurs, and, for fans and players, part of the indoctrination into Chelsea fandom is the lighting of a desire to troll Tottenham Hotspur at every opportunity.
Willian’s done it. Didier Drogba’s done it in retirement. And Eden Hazard’s done it with words and the scoring of goals that have helped keep Spurs trophyless (2015/16 Matchday 36 and 2016/17 FA Cup semifinal).
If this truly is part of his swan song, then it is by far one of my favorites.