Chelsea began their title challenge on Monday night with an impressive win over London rivals West Ham United.
Spearheading the team was Eden Hazard, a player that was often the scapegoat last season as he struggled to find Premier League form. But the signs towards the end of the last campaign showed that Hazard could reach the hi
Stat of the Match: Hazard completed 9 of his 12 dribbles against West Ham – higher than all of his full seasons at Stamford Bridge. (via Opta)
Hazard made 81 touches and was influential throughout. His WhoScored match rating of 7.98 made him the statistical Man of the Match and few managed to be more impressive this weekend. Another stand out statistics for Hazard was the 9 dribbles he managed to complete. Despite completing 9 dribbles he was only dispossessed 3 times highlighting his ability to be consistently reliable in transition.
Hazard had been linked with a move away from the club following his poor form last season but under new manager Antonio Conte it looks like Chelsea may well have the old Eden back. Not just did he show individual ability, but he teamed up well with his teammates, this is highlighted by his 81.8% pass accuracy. A statistic that may surprise you is that Hazard managed to complete 4 accurate long balls last night, that is quite a lot for an attacking midfielder, and it shows he has the ability to accurately switch possession, adding diversity to the Chelsea attack.
It’s clear that Hazard will be key to Chelsea’s title aspirations this season and the Belgian kicked off proceedings in fine for on Monday night. Chelsea fans will hope this isn’t a one off performance and they will know that Hazard is capable of continuing at this level. If he manages to, Chelsea have every chance of winning the title this season.
Here’s what Twitter and fans thought of Eden’s performance on Monday night:
Eden Hazard: "Chelsea are better when Eden is at his best." https://t.co/5sxVemJlgM
— Get French Football (@GFFN) August 16, 2016
Hazard and Costa re energized by mister Conte- if you're surprised then you don't know Chelsea's new manager
— David Amoyal (@DavidAmoyal) August 15, 2016
Tbf being a United fan, even I'm happy to see Hazard back to his best. He's incredible to watch on his day.
— Henry. (@UtdHenry) August 16, 2016
Despite it being a penalty, it is great to see Hazard off the mark far quicker than he managed last season (at least for Chelsea fans). You saw after the goal that Hazard grew in confidence and he attempted and pulled off patches of football that he never managed during his poor spell last season.
With the club struggling to get signings over the line, Conte will be desperate to build his team around Hazard and harness the Belgian’s match-winning potential. If Hazard can be the player he was two seasons ago, you’d be mad to bet against Chelsea winning the league this season.