Eden Hazard stopped by Chelsea TV’s post-match show after last night’s match-winning performance and revealed that his first-half wondergoal was neither a result of Sarri’s tactical instructions nor anything he might have pre-planned on his own.
You see, having wondered infield, against Sarri’s instructions to stay wide to stretch the formation and create space elsewhere (a la Hudson-Odoi on the opposite flank), but not finding any teammates to link up with either (Loftus-Cheek was deep and Higuain was marked), he was left with no choice but to score a wondergoal.
“Of course on the goal I was quite [central]. But if you look at the game today, i was more winger than No.10, because the manager, for the past two-three weeks, has asked me to stay more at winger, to create more space for the midfield, like Ruben [had] today.
“But (he says with a gleam in his eye), my game ... sometimes I like to go inside and link with the striker — when Olivier’s playing, or today, Gonzalo. I always try to reach the striker.
“But then on the goal, I didn’t have any solution (laugh). So I just try to do it myself ... and I did it!”
-Eden Hazard; source: Chelsea TV
Must be tough to be this good.
It’s an effort that certainly up there with some of the best Hazard has ever scored for Chelsea, and there are more than plenty to choose from: long-range bombs, individual runs, combination plays — you name it, he’s done them all. Still, we can all agree that last night’s opening goal was special, perhaps even “top three”, as he suggests.
“Something special! It’s just something special. I took the ball, when I could go forward I tried to go forward and in the box it’s hard for the defender to touch me, because maybe it’s a penalty. I was a bit lucky in the end when I shot but it was a good goal to be fair. I just wanted to shoot quick and when I saw the ball in the net I was just happy.
“I am small so for me it’s quite good. When I play against a tall guy for them it’s very hard to change direction but that’s my own quality and I’m happy to have this.”
-Eden Hazard; source: Chelsea FC
And we’re happy to have him, even if it’s just for 10 more games...
Incidentally, Hazard is now on 19 goals for the season in all competitions, matching his Chelsea personal best from 2014-15. He needs just one more to reach 20, which would be a career high for him at Chelsea and three more to reach 23, which would be a new career high altogether for a season. He’s also matched his best ever total in the Premier League with 16 — same as in Conte’s first season.