It’s just six games into the season but a welcome development for Chelsea fans has been witnessed thus far. Formerly, Chelsea had found it difficult to put up interesting and exciting performances without the presence of Hazard on the pitch to play a major role since his arrival at the club. It’s no news that Chelsea had previously struggled to impress significantly in the absence of the Belgian wizard since he made his ‘back then’ big money move from Lille to Stamford Bridge.
However, Italian Manager Antonio Conte after his brilliant spell in his first season in the Premier League with Chelsea seems to have found a way to ensure that Chelsea weathers the storm even in the absence of Eden Hazard. Chelsea have won 4, drawn 1 and lost 1 out of six games in the Premier League so far, having played some tough matches in the process.
Antonio Conte has instilled self-confidence in his side as other players have risen to the occasion in the games which have been played and ensured that the job was done. I guess it didn’t seem likely after the opening day 1 nil loss to Burnley at Stamford Bridge.
Some may say Tottenham are jinxed at Wembley, and maybe their star forward Harry Kane can’t seem to find the back of the net in August, but it was never going to be an easy game when Chelsea faced them with desperation to recover from the disappointing loss to Burnley with a seemingly shaky starting lineup that had the likes of a recuperating Bakayoko in midfield, Andreas Christensen in defence, and David Luiz in midfield amid very limited squad depth. On that occasion, the unlikeliest of heroes emerged. Marcos Alonso!
This is not a pointer to a suggestion that Chelsea can cope without Hazard, but a note of how Antonio Conte has managed his side to ensure that they are not far off despite having played some relatively tough sides. Conte has been content with gradually easing Eden Hazard into the lineup, but with back to back crackers, one against Atletico Madrid in the UCL at the Wanda Metropolitano , a side that has had the better of Chelsea in recent times, and another early season title decider against a red-hot Manchester City (maybe, ‘blue hot’ might be appropriate for describing their red-hot form as they are rivals with RED) in the Premier League, we wait to see how Conte and Chelsea respond.
The next two games will be significant tests of Chelsea’s quality under Conte in Hazard’s absence if the scenario pans out. However, it is a no-brainer that the player is key to what Chelsea will achieve this season, it’s similar to stating that water is wet. Nevertheless, Chelsea are yet to be hurt on the pitch or falter significantly in the absence of Hazard so far, showing that they have the quality to get the job done in his absence unlike what was witnessed in previous seasons as the blue boys always struggled in his absence irrespective of the opposition.
Credits to Antonio Conte who has made Chelsea fans not to miss Eden Hazard significantly in relation to garnering maximum points this season, albeit, his flamboyance on the pitch has been sorely missed.
Who sees Hazard make a start against Atletico and Manchester City? A start against Manchester City may be possible but against Diego Simeone’s rugged Atletico Madrid? Time will tell