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WAGNH’s Best and Most Beautifulest Chelsea Goals Draft 2020: Number 5

Reminiscing about our most favorite and Chelsea’s greatest goals from the past ~20 years

The rules were simple: 5 bloggers, 4 rounds, snake draft. David picked first, then Yatco, Graham, André, and Rohaan. 20 goals in total.

All goals eligible except Didier Drogba’s equalizer in the 2012 Champions League final. Too obvious.

In reverse order, these are our favorite, greatest, bestest (however each of us interpreted the rules) Chelsea goals. You will probably disagree, but you’re probably wrong.

No. 5

Chelsea FC v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

Eden Hazard vs. West Ham, 2019

It has been more than a decade since I started following Chelsea. In that time, I have borne witness to Frank Lampard scoring goal after goal, John Terry redefining the art of defending, N’Golo Kante defying belief with a smile on his face, and a certain Didier Drogba almost single-handedly winning us the ever-elusive Champions League trophy. But in all those years, never have I seen a more talented Chelsea player than Eden Michael Hazard.

If football were art, Hazard would have been its Michelangelo. His every touch and every dribble on the pitch were sublime, analogous to the mesmerizing strokes on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Every week he stopped time, and showed us what the beautiful game was really all about.

For a man known more for his otherworldly creativity rather than his scoring output — ed.note: even though he’s 9th on the all-time list — Eden Hazard scored some absolutely ridiculous goals in his seven-year Chelsea career. It’s hard to pick the best: his goals against Tottenham in 2016, Arsenal in 2017, Liverpool in 2018 are all of the highest possible order.

I decided to go with one of the last in Chelsea Blue, that time he decided put the Hammer(s) down. “The left and the right!

It was early April 2019 and local rivals West Ham were visiting Stamford Bridge for Chelsea’s 33rd Premier League match of the season. The season up to that point had been neither an overwhelming success, nor a complete failure. The football itself had been, at times, excruciatingly monotonous, even lethargic.

But no amount of Sarri-ball could keep Hazard down. After all, the man had already survived Mourinho and Conte with his joie de vivre intact. He had 17 goals for the season this point, and would score four more times, to eclipse 20 in all competitions for the first time in his Chelsea career, before fulfilling his childhood dream of signing for Real Madrid in the summer.

That his path to Chelsea immortality went through West Ham like the proverbial hot knife through butter just made it all the more glorious.

Chelsea FC v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images

On that day, the first 23 minutes ambled by, with neither side able to impose themselves on the game. It was the kind of game that needed a spark of brilliance. Like the infinite number of times he had done before, Eden duly obliged.

In trademark fashion, Hazard dropped deep to find space and receive the ball. He turned effortlessly and dribbled past two who came to close him down. In front of him at that point stood three defenders, but that was no problem either. With his feet moving at at least four times the speed of an average human being, he shimmied between them. Good thing we have slo-mo replay! Otherwise, we might never understand how he managed to do that.

Ryan Fredericks, probably the only West Ham player who didn’t look like an utter fool, tried a last-ditch sliding challenge to unceremoniously snuff out the brilliance. Fortunately, he was already too late. A bewildered Lukasz Fabianski and a disappointed Aaron Cresswell watched on as the back of the net rippled and Hazard wheeled away for a customary knee-slide.

Once we picked our jaws up off the floor, it still took a number of viewings to understand what actually transpired during those few seconds. I’m not sure I can comprehend even to this day how Eden pulled off the impossible that night.

Hazard would go on to score one more goal in that game, in the 90th minute, and while that wasn’t as astounding as the previous, it was still better than most could do in their entire lifetime. Chelsea dispatched West Ham, 2-0, and finished third when the Premier League season was all over.

While the goal itself was and remains quite enthralling, what made it all the more special (and a little sad, frankly) was the fact that it was one of the Prince of Stamford Bridge’s last (great) goals for the club. When Hazard left, tens of millions of Blue hearts broke. But we will forever have our memories of the twinkle-toed genius born to entertain and spread happiness.

Some might say he never realized his full potential at Chelsea due to his laid-back attitude. But that attitude is precisely what made him so great. We saw a boy become a legend right in front of our eyes, but his carefree demeanor never changed. He was not in it for the individual glory or the material reward. He was simply there to enthrall and delight and have a bit of fun on the playground. And fun he did have.

We all did.

WAGNH’s Best and Most Beautifulest Chelsea Goals Draft 2020:

No.5: Eden Hazard vs. West Ham, 2019

No.6: Didier Drogba vs. Liverpool, 2006
No.7: Didier Drogba vs. Everton, 2006
No.8: Ramires vs. Barcelona, 2012
No.9: Fernando Torres vs. Barcelona, 2012
No.10: Damien Duff vs. Barcelona, 2005
No.11: Wayne Bridge vs. Arsenal, 2004
No.12: Raul Meireles vs. Benfica, 2012
No.13: Gianfranco Zola vs. Wimbledon, 1997
No.14: Arjen Robben vs. Norwich City, 2004
No.15: Claude Makélélé vs. Tottenham Hotspur, 2006
No.16: Oscar vs. Juventus, 2012
No.17: Bethany England vs. Birmingham City, 2019
No.18: Demba Ba vs. Manchester United, 2013
No.19: André Schürrle vs. Burnley, 2014
No.20: Alex vs. Liverpool, 2009

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