As referee Micheal Oliver blew his whistle after 90 minutes of pulsating action at Anfield last Saturday evening it effectively ended any chance Chelsea had of regaining their Premier League crown.
The draw against Liverpool leaves Antonio Conte’s side 11 points behind runaway leaders Manchester City, and with the scintillating form Pep Guardiola’s side are in, it is highly unlikely that anybody will catch them season.
Its is not all doom and gloom for Chelsea however, as the form of one man – especially in the first-half last Saturday can be seen as a massive positive for The Blues.
Eden Hazard was sensational during the first 45 minutes at Anfield, he faded a little after the break, but that was more down to a heavy kick he received to the calf from former team-mate Mo Salah, which caused him to visibly limp his way through the last 40 minutes of the game.
The mercurial Belgian, much as he has been for the last few weeks, looked almost unplayable at times; every time he received the ball he went on slaloming run after slaloming run leaving those in Red shirts in his wake.
Hazard’s close control and ability to run at full pelt with the ball seemingly glued to his right boot make him a joy to watch at times. His low centre of gravity and stocky frame also make it almost impossible to knock him off the ball, in fact he’s probably the best player in the Premier League when it comes to ball retention in tight spaces.
As we discussed on our weekly podcast the only slight frustration with the brilliant Belgian is that at times he maybe doesn’t quite push himself hard enough to maximise his talent. At 26-years-old Hazard is now reaching his prime, and he clearly has the potential to become one of the top five players in the world, if he is so inclined.
A contributing factor to Chelsea’s inconsistent form at times this season has been Hazard’s struggle to regain full match sharpness after suffering a broken ankle when on international duty with Belgium in June, but over the over the last month or so he has begun to show that he is back to his razor-sharp best.
The excellent understanding that Hazard and £70 million striker Alvaro Morata have, has also become more evident and some of their link-up play recently has been breath taking. If both players are on song you will struggle to find a more potent attacking partnership in the Premier League.
Chelsea still of course have plenty to play for this season, even if the Premier League title would seem out of their grasp. They have a good chance of picking up silverware in the FA Cup, EFL Cup and Champions League.
If Antonio Conte’s side are to be successful again this term their brilliant Belgian will undoubtedly be an integral part of it, its quite simple really, when Hazard plays well so do Chelsea.
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