After a disastrous last season Chelsea look primed to rebound quickly. While only three weeks into the new season, Chelsea are currently undefeated, tied with Manchester City and Manchester United atop the table. And it’s impossible to mention the resurgent Chelsea, without also mentioning the resurgent Eden Hazard.
As bad as last season was for Chelsea, it may have been worse for Hazard. After being voted the PFA Player of the Year for the 2014/15 season, he struggled to make anywhere close to the same impact in the 2015/16 season. He looked like a shell of his former self, hesitant and unwilling to run at defenders. He lacked confidence. There were also rumors of his discontent with former manager Jose Mourinho.
But now, with a new manger, Hazard looks more similar to the player he was two seasons ago. He’s on the ball more, running at defenders. Last season Hazard averaged only 2.9 dribbles per game. This season, he’s averaging 5.7 per game. He’s also shooting more, drawing more fouls, and completing more passes. He also already has two goals this season, after netting just four a season ago. All of this tells me, that Eden Hazard has regained his confidence.
An Eden Hazard that’s running at defenders is a scary sight for any opponents. He’s shown time and time again that he’s one of the best players in the world with the ball at his feet. It’s nearly impossible for one defender to stop him. It requires a team effort, and that makes Chelsea very dangerous. Teams will need a plan to stop Hazard, but by doing so they will leave space for other players. This Chelsea side is not the same one that finished 10th a season ago.
It’s still early, but I’m confident in saying that last year was a fluke for Hazard, and that the real Hazard has now returned. Teams in the Premier League should be worried. Chelsea has a real chance at reclaiming their lost title.