Eden Hazard’s good for a highlight, isn’t he?
Maybe we haven’t seen him control and take over games quite as much as he should, but Hazard is unquestionably an extravagantly-gifted player who will only get better the longer he stays in England.
In no order, here are three of his best from 2012/13:
Vs West Ham (home)
This was as much about Hazard’s combination with Juan Mata as it was the Belgian’s individual brilliance.
West Ham aren’t the most talented side, but they are extremely organised and made a habit this season of making their opposition work for goals. The interplay between Hazard and Mata is one and two-touch football at it’s very best, and the visiting defenders get absolutely nowhere near either of them. This is such precise and simple football, and it was joy to see.
Vs Stoke City (away)
I love how nonchalant this goal is, and especially Hazard’s first touch in possession. It’s almost as if he’s on the pitch by himself, because he looks so casual with the ball at his feet.
There’s nothing casual about the hit though, and this flew into the net – against one of the more acrobatically-capability goalkeepers in the league, too. A sensational goal – and probably the moment when his transfer fee stopped being a point of contention.
Vs Manchester United (away)
The running theme through all of these goals is the same: Hazard makes difficult parts of the game look very easy, and this goal sums that up better than any other.
This is from The FA Cup rather than the Premier League, and it was the catalyst for Chelsea staying in the competition a round longer than they look destined to when two goals down at Old Trafford.
Watch how he uses Rafael ahead of him to disguise his shot. There’s very little back-lift, and yet it’s such a purely-hit shot that David De Gea can do nothing about it – even from such a distance. It’s essentially just a twenty-five yard caress of the ball, with a perfect draw into the top-corner.