Chelsea news: Eden Hazard set huge Premier League target by Ian Wright | Football | Sport
The Belgium winger scored a hat-trick yesterday as the Blues came from behind to beat Cardiff 4-1 at Stamford Bridge.
That puts him at the top of the Premier League goalscoring charts with five strikes in as many games, having also contributed two assists.
Hazard has been a major factor in Chelsea’s 100 per-cent winning record so far, having picked up all 15 available points to top the table.
Sarri’s introduction has given the London club a welcome refresh, with things having turned sour under previous boss Antonio Conte, and talisman Hazard is one particular beneficiary of the Italian’s attacking approach.
The manager himself hailed on Hazard afterwards: “I thought Hazard was one of the best players in Europe, but now I am changing my mind that he is the best.”
And Arsenal legend and Match of the Day pundit Wright is so impressed by Hazard’s start to the campaign, he has backed him to produce a career-best return in front of goal.
That’s with Hazard’s best return in the league for Chelsea having been his 16-goal haul under in the title-winning 2016-17 campaign, while the best tally of his career came in his final year with Lille when he managed 20 in Ligue 1.
Yet Wright thinks he can set a new benchmark this term despite having never scored more than 19 goals in all competitions across a full campaign in England.
“Yes, he is [largely responsible for that],” Wright said when Gary Lineker suggested Hazard was the main contributor to Chelsea’s start.
“It’s probably music to his ears to hear a manager saying he probably thinks he’s the best in Europe.
“Whether you believe that or not, it’s neither here or nor there – the fact is he has got the capabilities of being one of the best in Europe.
“When he’s given the licence to do what he’s doing, playing in areas when he’s running at people and making moves with [Olivier] Giroud up there and Pedro who are on that kind of wavelength who can help, he’s scintillating.
“He’s somebody now, that when you saw with Mourinho when he has to come back and defend and he had all that kind of problems, same with Conte or he’s playing up front with his back to goal.
“That’s not what Hazard’s going to show people what he’s capable of in respect of the calibre of player he is.
“Once he’s in there [the penalty box], they’re afraid to touch him [the defenders].
“It would not surprise me if he ended up with 25-30 goals because he’s got a manager who totally believes in him and is letting him just get on with it.”
Fellow pundit Alan Shearer added: “He hasn’t showed any tiredness. He’s looking as fresh as he ever has done, I think. He’s looking incredible.”