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Could Eden Hazard Fire Chelsea to the Premier League Title?


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A new season, another new Chelsea manager but maybe a new look Chelsea? Even a new look Eden Hazard?

The Belgian has been nothing short of brilliant so far this season and is one of the hottest players in Europe right now. Chelsea are the only club in English football who find themselves unbeaten in all competitions but can Hazard really fire his side to the title?

Belgium's progress to the semi-finals of the World Cup meant a long summer and a very short break for the 27-year-old. Hazard returned to Chelsea just as the season was about to begin and resulted in the Belgian starting life under Sarri on the bench for the opening two games of the season, yet still ended in Chelsea victory.

Sarri's man-management of Hazard is a big factor in his performances so far this season. Hazard's first start of the season came against Newcastle, a game in which he scored the winning goal. Since then, he has started five consecutive Premier League games and has already six goals to his name. In contrast, it took Hazard until October 28th to get his League account started last season. 

There have in the past been concerns of the Belgian's fitness and having missed pretty much all of pre-season it is vital Sarri manages his star asset correctly. Hazard was left in London when Chelsea travelled to Greece a fortnight ago for their opening Europa League match and Sarri has hinted Hazard's involvement certainly in the group stage will be very little, if at all. 

With no midweek Champions League assignments and facing a rest during the Europa League, it may mean, up until Christmas at least Hazard may only play once a week, which can only be good news for Chelsea. A fresh Hazard every week should result in more consistent performances, such as in the 2016/2017 season where Chelsea were not involved in any European competition and Hazard helped Chelsea to a memorable League win.

Sarri left Hazard on the bench during the League Cup tie away at Liverpool and decided to unleash the forward midway through the second half having found his side a goal down. Hazard turned the tie on its head, scoring a wonder goal to help his side to a 2-1 victory.

That goal means that Hazard already has eight for the season across all competitions. His record so far came in the 2014/15 title-winning season where he notched 19 across four competitions, at this rate the 20 mark could be hit as early as Chrismas, with his manager setting him a target of 40 goals.

The debate about Hazard and other top players has always been that the Belgian doesn't chip in with enough goals and the stats would agree however there is valid reasons for that. Before Sarri, Hazard was used by both Jose Mourinho and more recently Antonio Conte as a player heavily loaded with defensive duties.

Whilst Hazard helped Chelsea to League titles with both managers, you get the feeling we didn't really see the best of him and under Sarri, who seems to have forgiven Hazard of any defensive responsibilities, maybe we are seeing him at his very best.

Whilst Hazard has been so good this season, him firing Chelsea to a sixth Premier League title is another task. So far, Chelsea have been heavily dependant on Hazard and when he didn't fire away at West Ham the side were poor and seemed lucky to come away with a point. 

In the shape of title rivals, both Manchester City and Liverpool look in better shape than Chelsea to mount serious title bids. A misfiring Hazard or even worse, an injured Hazard would be a disaster for Chelsea.

In contrast, Man City find themselves at the top without star man Kevin De Bruyne and Liverpool have a wealth of options in attack. 

Hazard has enjoyed a wonderful start and I expect him to easily break the 20 goal barrier this season but I'm not sure if he alone can fire Chelsea to another title just yet. 

Media Credit - Wikipedia Commons. Flickr Commons. Chelsea Football Club. 

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