How Chelsea Star Eden Hazard Has Found A New Life Under Antonio Conte?
After a torrid season under the now Manchester United boss, Jose Mourinho, Chelsea and many of their most high-profile players, were in need of a fresh start. After dabbling with relegation for most of the season, many were left scratching their heads as to how a team of such good players, such as the former Premier League Player of the Year, Eden Hazard, could have fallen so far, so quickly.
Enter Antonio Conte. The former Italy and Juventus manager was given the reigns at Stamford Bridge by Roman Abramovich over the summer, and his appointment brought an expected change in Chelsea’s style. Conte’s teams had always been fast and well drilled, and many fans wondered who would and wouldn’t be able to cut it under the Italian tactician.
Early signs were looking very positive. Chelsea started the season strongly, fighting their way to three hard-fought wins against West Ham, Watford and Chelsea. Hazard, who scored Chelsea’s first goal of the season from the spot, looked energetic and on-message; something not always seen from players who have been through a tough year and an extensive campaign at the European Championships.
Despite conceding in the first two games, Chelsea really looked like they had begun to click against Burnley. Sean Dyche’s team were put to the sword, as the Blues scored 3, with Hazard getting the first and running the show.
After such a fast paced start to the season, perhaps it was not surprising to Chelsea get a little burnt out over the course of September. Despite an impressive 2-4 away victory at Premier League champions in the League Cup, Leicester City, Chelsea suffered defeats to Arsenal and Liverpool, as well as a 2-2 draw with a struggling Swansea City side. Doubts began to creep in. Was Conte’s system too much for some of the Chelsea players to take? Their big names needed to step forward…
…and Eden Hazard did. After dictating much of the play in Chelsea’s 0-2 win over Hull City at the start of October, the Belgium forward produced an outstanding display against Leicester City once again, scoring one and running the show in Chelsea’s 3-0 win. For Conte, Hazard seemed to really be playing. But could he produce like this in the big games?
The answer was yes! Coming up against former boss, Jose Mourinho, Eden Hazard stole the show in Chelsea’s 4-0 thumping of Manchester United. Mourinho could do nothing but sit back and watch the player who had been so poor for him, rip his team to shreds.
After another goal at the end of the month in Chelsea’s 0-2 at Southampton, Hazard was up to five goals for the season, and looked to have finally found that world-class form again.
But the best was yet to come. Just before the international break, Chelsea faced a tough test against Ronald Koeman’s Everton; a game that many expected to be tight. What followed was what can only be described as a footballing massacre. Time and time again, Hazard tore Everton’s defence to pieces, scoring twice in a sensational 5-0 home victory.
If there was one reason for Chelsea fans to get excited about this new era under Antonio Conte, it should be the rejuvenation of Eden Hazard. Before the disastrous season under Mourinho, many were tipping the Belgium forward to soon be rivalling the likes of Messi and Ronaldo as one of the best players in the world, and now, under the Italian, Hazard looks like starting these conversations up once again.
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