Eden Hazard hat-trick propels Chelsea to comeback win over Cardiff City
In the great debate over who should lead the Chelsea attack, there should really be only one question that matters: which striker will help to get the best out of Eden Hazard? To put it frankly, everything else should be secondary when Chelsea possess a player capable of producing performances as relentlessly brilliant as this in a 4-1 victory.
Maurizio Sarri had dropped Alvaro Morata for this meeting with Cardiff City, instead trusting Olivier Giroud to provide the platform for Hazard to thrive. The decision paid off handsomely as Giroud proved to be the most able of sidekicks on a day when Hazard was simply untouchable.
Giroud was at the heart of two of Hazard’s three goals, reading the Belgian’s runs and laying on the service he loves. The Frenchman was more dominant than Morata has been at any point this season, and there can be no denying that it was Hazard who reaped the rewards.
There are few Premier League forwards as scintillating as Hazard on an average day, let alone on afternoons like these, when he steps past defenders with ease and bounces past challenges as if he was the country’s most destructive dodgem. Despite having no pre-season after his World Cup exploits, Hazard has either scored or assisted a goal in every game he has played this campaign. Including international appearances, the 27-year-old has scored seven goals in his last five matches.
These are world-class numbers posted by a world-class player, and his hat-trick here proved far too much for a spirited Cardiff, who had taken an early lead but never looked likely to maintain it. By the time Willian curled in a glorious fourth for the home side to guarantee a fifth win in five games, Cardiff looked both physically and mentally beaten.