Eden Hazard: Analysing His Role for Lille and Where He'll Do Damage for Chelsea
Eden Hazard's long-awaited transfer to the Premier League will soon be completed—much to the relief of world football.
The Belgian has changed his mind so many times now that his cryptic and elusive comments on his future are largely ignored.
However, the man himself has confirmed (via Twitter) that he's joining the Blue side of London.
Goal.com ran the exclusive that he'd signed for Chelsea earlier on during that day, and it seems like the UEFA Champions League holders have landed themselves one of the finest playmakers on the market.
The Daily Telegraph have also gone on to confirm the story.
So what can Chelsea fans look forward to? Let's break down how this Belgian playmaker plays his football.
The first misconception about Eden Hazard is that he's just a winger. He is far more than that—he has the ability to play anywhere across the advanced midfield line with an equally devastating effect.
He likes to drift in order to find space and prevent people marking him out of the game, but he has generally been given an assigned position each game this season by Lille boss Rudi Garcia.
He turned out 23 times on the left wing and 10 times "in the hole" behind the striker during the 2011/2012 season. He featured on the right a few times too, and was incredibly effective when occupying any of these three positions.
Consistently brilliant as he was, his best performances clearly came from a central position.
Chelsea simply must build their team around him. According Bleacher Report's Allan Jiang, the reason he hasn't translated his success at Lille onto the international stage with Belgium is because his coach won't play to his strengths.
How He Would Succeed in the Premier League
He is best deployed in a central role due to where his key strengths lay.
Despite being diminutive in stature, he's one of the best direct playmakers around. His close control and balance is so good he can force his body through holes and maintain possession of the ball too.
His biggest strength is not his dribbling, but his ability to thread through-balls and key passes to his teammates—an attribute you simply cannot put a price tag on at the highest level.
His killer ball-playing abilities, coupled with his direct and forceful dribbling, makes him a unique asset in world football.
There are times when even the best of teams become stumped as to how to break down an opposing defensive scheme. Hazard is the answer.
He would be the perfect tonic to circumvent a stubborn, nine-man blocking system built to frustrate and contain. He is better than David Silva at finding a through-ball in the tightest of circumstances.
Chelsea can struggle when a team parks the bus. Having relied upon the physicality of Didier Drogba to bail them out in this situation, Hazard would go a long way to reintroducing that "way of winning."
With the Blues set to hand Fernando Torres his chance to impress, it's important to remember that a huge percentage of his goals at Liverpool came from through-balls. Hazard will bring the best out of Torres.
Where does Eden Hazard fit in best?
Hazard is crying out to be played successively in a central role behind the striker. Placing him on the wing utilises is dribbling skills and agility, but fails to make use of his very best skill.
When you sign a star player, you have make sure your playing to their strengths. Why else do you pay silly money to acquire someone? Wise teams play to their star's strengths.
Examples of this can be found all over the place—be it Cristiano Ronaldo's freedom in a resurgent Portugal or Lionel Messi's unpredictable role in a Barcelona match.
It'll be tough to do, but in my opinion this means Juan Manuel Mata must play on the left wing. He doesn't have to be a traditional wide player, and he's played inside left at Valencia, but it will ever so slightly dethrone him after a Player of the Season-winning campaign.
The signing of Hazard is a great one, and it'll bring Torres back to his best.
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