Eden Hazard is one of the most technically gifted players to ever wear the blue shirt of Chelsea, but in recent weeks his future at Stamford Bridge has become increasingly uncertain, and his evident dislike of the false-nine role that Maurizio Sarri gave him in the win over Manchester City could force him even closer to the exit door.
Looking at the headline figures, it would seem that Hazard had a fantastic game in the shock win over City, as he provided the assists for both N’Golo Kante and David Luiz to secure the three points.
However, the 27-year-old was not happy after the game about the position and role that he was given by Sarri. Clearly, the Italian boss felt that neither Olivier Giroud or Alvaro Morata had done enough in recent weeks to warrant a start against the current champions, but Hazard felt as though he couldn’t influence the game as much from a central role as he usually does out wide.
In his post-match interview Hazard was clearly disappointed despite the impressive 2-0 win. The Belgian international felt that his contribution was limited by the central position, even though he played there before with Antonio Conte at the helm.
Hazard though is now clearly Chelsea’s main man and moving him into the centre did reduce his impact. He no doubt does have the talent and ability to learn the new role, but it is more a question of whether he wants to.
The stats certainly supported his post-game comments, as a combination of City’s centre-backs and Fernandinho limited him to just 39 touches in the whole game, and not once in the 90 minutes did he manage to find the space to shoot.
This was undoubtedly a controversial decision from Chelsea’s Italian boss, as moving your most dangerous player in such a big game is always going to be risk.
We know full well that he did the same thing with Dries Mertens whilst at Napoli, but if Hazard doesn’t enjoy the position and continues to be played there, Sarri must be careful that he doesn’t edge ever closer to that move to Madrid.