Hazard the next Zola?
Roberto Di Matteo stated earlier in the week that he thought that Eden Hazard had the ability and potential to become Chelsea’s next Zola. This is a big statement to make, especially when you consider that Zola was voted the greatest player to every play for Chelsea FC. But, on the basis of the last 2 games, it’s fair to say that the signs are there that this statement could well turn out to be true.
I didn’t get a chance to see the whole of the Wigan game, but managed to see the highlights. Based on what I saw then I was very impressed. 2 assists, one of them for a penalty, and the other coming off the back of an exquisite turn. Beginner’s luck people said. It’s only Wigan, he won’t do it every game they said. And then there was last night, where I got to see Hazard play first hand at the Bridge, and I have to say that he really is a special player.
I remember when I used to watch Zola play, he brought a unique reaction from the crowd whenever he got the ball. Expectation. That’s exactly what we had with Hazard last night. Whenever he got the ball I found myself jumping off my seat and leaping up and down in expectation. Sure we’ve had players over the last 10 years since Zola’s departure which have excited us such as Mata, Joe Cole, Robben and Duff. But it’s clear to see that the buzz that goes around the Bridge when Hazard gets the ball – that’s special.
With a few of those players mentioned, we were often left frustrated with their selfishness. Giving the ball away, shooting from ridiculous angles when they should have passed, and not tracking back. Hazard didn’t do any of these last nights, with the exception of a few times giving the ball away. He was always back defending, tracking back when he lost the ball, and (as shown for the 4th goal) he is always looking for his team mates, when others would maybe shoot. That’s so refreshing to see. It’s something which a player like Sturridge should learn from. Too many times last season Danny would go for goal himself or take too many players on, when really he needed to pass. So in a way, Hazard’s arrival will hopefully benefit him too.
It was a very impressive home debut from Hazard, and whilst you realise that he won’t play this well every game, it’s certainly exciting to see and think about, especially when some would say he’s still ‘settling in’ to the pace of the league. He can only get better! You get the feeling that Lampard has found a mate in Hazard, with Frank knowing that he’ll have a great chance of getting into double figures once again if defenders continue to be played so easily by the skill of Hazard. 2 penalties in 2 games, not a bad way to start at all.
Many superlatives have been thrown around about Hazard since last night’s game, and they’re all deserved. However, even though he has the potential to be our ‘new Zola’, we mustn’t get ahead of ourselves, and remember that this guy is still only 21 and will have bad games this season and beyond. Zola had a lot of bad games at Chelsea, but the fans loved him. Why? Because he played with a smile on his face, he wasn’t selfish, he gave Chelsea fans so many happy and exciting moments. Hazard has already provided a few of them, with 5 assists in 6 games, but there’s lots more to come. Chelsea fans, we are in for a treat this season. The Belgian Messi? You bet ya!