Chelsea’s attacking midfielder Eden Hazard is the player to watch this season. The magical Belgian burst onto the scene last year with Chelsea starting like a house on fire. His form dipped slightly midway through the year, but Hazard picked right back up and started to dazzle again.
This campaign, Hazard means business and had a pre-season that opened many people’s eyes. The midfielder is going into the next season as Jose Mourinho’s new project with the manager even stating:
“He is a top talent, but I want him to not just be a top talent but a top player.”
So far, Hazard is already showing all his qualities that could propel him to be the Premier League’s player of the season.
Firstly, Hazard possesses many top qualities, the first two which are vital for any top player — pace and dribbling. Hazard has got bags of pace, as he glides through opposing defenders with ease. However he is not just another Theo Walcott. He actually uses his trickery to aid his attempts at getting past defenders. The most important aspect of Hazard’s running game is his ability to switch gears quickly. Hazard usually attracts the defender while going at half speed and then quickly shifts into another gear allowing him to escape from any defender. This makes Hazard basically unplayable at times, as defenders simply cannot keep up with him. And did I mention his dribbling? Just have a look at Hazard turn West Ham team in and out.
Secondly, Hazard possesses great vision, and can actually produce a quality ball in the final third. The criticism of many players who were touted to be great such as Aaron Lennon and Walcott was that that they couldn’t produce a decisive ball in the final third. Hazard does it with ease. Last season, he showed time and time again that he can produce that little bit of magic in the final third and spot a run of his teammates. Examples of this came in big games; like against Tottenham, Villa, and West Ham. The final third is not just about top notch passes, it’s also about scoring. Just when you think
Hazard can’t possibly have anymore attributes to his game you’re wrong. Eden Hazard has got goals in him, and although he only had 13 goals last season, he has come out and said ” I want to be more lethal.” This is depressing news for opposing fans as Hazard has the potential to be a 30 goal a season player. All you have to do is look back to his individual goals against Manchester United and West Ham. When a player can take a dead game and produce a piece of individual brilliance a la Messi, it’s a rare quality that game changers such as Hazard has.
Lastly, the most important factor that makes Hazard a lock to be the player of the season, is the same factor that has made many of the pundits select Chelsea as the favorites for the title: The Mourinho Factor. Jose Mourinho has already stated his intentions with Hazard by placing him in the same group as Messi and Ronaldo.
It’s time for Mourinho to transform Hazard’s game. Hazard is already a much better player than Joe Cole was. He has got more pace, strength and all around quality than Cole ever did. Although Hazard has not got the work rate, this is something Mourinho is already changing. In pre-season, Hazard has been very focused and is tracking back and helping out his left back, which is something he hardly ever did last season. Hazard is also being more decisive with his runs. Instead of playing with the ball, he’s just going past defenders and providing match winning moments. Although it is only early in the season, those are still signs of a player who is looking to move on to the next level. Time will tell but with the season already under away, Hazard is definitely the player to watch.