Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat to Arsenal last night only added to the narrative that something isn’t quite right in west London. There have been season-long murmurings of disagreements behind the scenes and Antonio Conte becoming an increasingly frustrated figure, and during a second half in which the Blues wilted as the home side grew suggested there just isn’t the same confidence, commitment and focus as last season.
That may well be the case, but it doesn’t necessarily mean this will be a barren season for the Blues. The League Cup and the Premier League title has proved beyond them, but Chelsea can still claim silverware in the FA Cup or potentially even the Champions League – a tournament English teams have performed exceptionally well in so far this season.
And as long as Eden Hazard continues his superlative run of form, Chelsea will always have a chance of beating any calibre of opponent in any competition. The Belgian international – who Transfermarkt value at £90million – was exceptional for the Blues once again last night, getting on the scoresheet after just seven minutes by calmly converting a delicate pass from Pedro.
That was by no means Hazard’s only contribution either, as the most consistent attacking force on the pitch. He also created the most chances, recorded the most accurate crosses and completed the second-most dribbles of any player involved in last night’s clash in an impressive offensive performance.
Regardless of the politics going on behind the scenes at Stamford Bridge, he gives Conte a great chance of ending his second season – and perhaps his last – as Chelsea manager with silverware.