Eden Hazard’s performance on the weekend for Chelsea was the biggest indication we’ve had so far that this team are entering a new era. Most importantly, players like Hazard are helping to push the power and influence of players like Frank Lampard into the background.
But that’s not done yet.
Frank Lampard responded to the actions of Chelsea’s new left-sided attacker by capitalizing on the penalty won by Hazard. And even then, despite being in the midst of a new wave of talent at Stamford Bridge, players like Lampard and John Terry found their way into the first-team. They’re still relevant now, but certainly not for much longer.
And that’s what Chelsea need: There’s no use in the club hanging onto the ghost of Jose Mourinho if they want to be successful long beyond the time of the Portuguese’s most loyal servants. Players like Hazard are important not only for Roman Abramovich’s desire for a new brand of football, but also to ensure the club are successful well into the future.
It’s only one game, but we saw some very promising football from players like Hazard and Fernando Torres. The Spaniard was unlikely not to get on the score sheet, and the lack of real depth at centre-forward might be a concern, but Torres needs to become the main focal point at the club as Didier Drogba once was. Juan Mata and Oscar need dictate the play, rather than having their talents pushed to the side in a team dominated by the old guard.
For now, however, the older players like Lampard and Terry are still important, but I’m increasingly losing faith in the worth Terry can have in the team. Lets move away from the fact that he was horribly exposed playing a high line last season, he really showed his colours by damaging his side’s chances of ultimate victory in the Champions league. No one would have expected them to bounce back after his dismissal at the Nou Camp, but Terry’s action really didn’t do his side any favours.
But there’s no use in hanging around the idea that Terry is “Mr. Chelsea” and that there is no other captain like him. It’s a nonsense statement and there are plenty who are capable of wearing the captains armband without drawing so much vitriol from the rest of the football world.
Gary Cahill was excellent in that Champions league final, Ryan Bertrand looks to be a good player capable of lasting in the Chelsea team, and there is now an exciting nucleus of players in the team.
I’d still like to think of Frank Lampard as a good player to have in any side. His leadership and experience will be invaluable in a team soon to be dominated by the best young talents in world football, while he also showed on the weekend that the goal is yet to elude him.
In just the same way that Roberto Di Matteo needs this to be his team and not just him keeping an eye on the real leaders who are out on the pitch, players like Mata, Hazard and Oscar need to establish a swing away from what Chelsea was for the best part of the last decade.
Drogba left with an almost irreplaceable presence in attack, but this side can win and will have to find ways of winning titles without relying on the personnel that brought them all those trophies.
It was good to see Hazard take on one of the most prominent roles in the Chelsea team so early on. He’s a player with magnificent ability and unbreakable confidence, and even the difficulty of English football couldn’t put him down.
These are the players who are drawing attention to Chelsea. Attention that is warranted for all the right reasons.
Frank Lampard, John Terry and Ashley Cole aren’t quite pointless yet—they still have important roles both on and off the pitch. But the process is comfortably underway and the ball is rolling towards a team who need to be handed the torch.
Branislav Ivanovic and Frank Lampard would have been the names on the score sheet, but Eden Hazard picking up the assist for both (sort of) would have been symbolic of where this team are going.