Eden Hazard needs helping hand if Chelsea are to lift Premier League title
Image Via: Flickr/Ben Sutherland used under Creative Commons.
Eden Hazard is the best player in the Premier League right now. That much is obvious. Some may say that the Belgian has the potential to become the best in world football. The scintillating way in which he has started the 2018/19 campaign certainly backs up those claims, but will Chelsea take home silverware this term?
Under Maurizio Sarri, they looked like an organised outfit. The term I'd use to describe the Stamford Bridge club is efficient. They kick things up a notch when they need it the most, but if all that's required is for them to cruise along in third gear, then Chelsea are more than happy to do so.
They do have one glaring weakness, however. Hazard aside, it's tough to see where their goals, assists and that rare moment-of-magic will come from. In the final third, if the 27-year-old is having an off-day, Chelsea tend to look toothless. Against Manchester United, the former LOSC Lille man was pretty quiet. Albeit for a header and a late, set-piece scramble, Sarri's men would have tasted defeat for the first time this season.
It's alarming that, since Marcos Alonso made the move to London in 2016, the left-back is Chelsea's fourth-highest scorer in almost two-and-a-half seasons. Hazard's tally of 33 is more than double the next best (Pedro, 16), while Diego Costa is third on the list. He left in January, his replacement, Alvaro Morata, is struggling massively. The Spaniard has found himself on the bench, with Olivier Giroud now first-choice more often than not...
While we're on the subject of the Frenchman, he's hardly prolific in front of goal. I mean sure, he does a job - and one that he's brilliant at, but every striker's job, first and foremost, should be sticking the ball in the net. Five goals in 27 appearances across all competitions just isn't good enough.
Then you have Willian and Pedro. Again, both are great players who'll give you a solid 5/10 every week, but they're more about creating rather than scoring. The pair works hard, they don't mind doing the dirty work, that often leaves them out-of-position when trying to spring a counter-attack.
At this moment, the spark is coming from midfield. Ross Barkley looks to be a real threat. While it's great watching the young Englishman flourish, again, he's more about creating chances rather than scoring them. Then you have the excellent Mateo Kovacic, that's another similar story. In January, don't be surprised to see a minor reshuffle of the pack if Chelsea can find someone who can bring that extra bite to their attack, because they certainly need it.
This weekend could be interesting. Hazard is still nursing injury, if he doesn't make the game against Burnley later today, we'll get a better idea as to where Chelsea are at without their talisman. Obviously, everyone would prefer to see the #10 fit and available because he's an absolute joy to watch, but part of me would love to see how Sarri's men cope without such an influential figure...