In the debate over who should lead the Chelsea attack, there should be only one question that matters: which striker will help to get the best out of Eden Hazard? To put it frankly, everything else should be secondary when Chelsea possess a player capable of producing performances as relentlessly brilliant as this.
Maurizio Sarri had dropped Alvaro Morata for this meeting with Cardiff City, instead trusting Olivier Giroud to provide the platform for Hazard to thrive. The decision paid off, to spectacular effect, as Giroud proved to be the most able of sidekicks on a day when Hazard was simply untouchable.
Such was Hazard’s quality here, when his three goals guaranteed a fifth consecutive win for Chelsea, that Sarri suggested that he may be the finest player on the continent. “I thought that Hazard was one of the best players in Europe,” Sarri said. “But now I change my mind – maybe he is the best now.”
High praise indeed, but there are few attackers as scintillating as Hazard on afternoons like these. With Giroud alongside him, creating two of Hazard’s three goals, the Belgian resembled the country’s most destructive dodgem as he bounced off challenges and zigged through tackles.
The 27-year-old has either scored or assisted a goal in every match he has played this campaign, and he has now notched seven goals in his last five games. And this is all despite having no pre-season after his World Cup exploits. “I am fresh,” Hazard said. “I took three weeks off after the World Cup. For me it was enough.”
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