Eden Hazard: Good and Bad Points from Chelsea Star's EPL Debut

Tony MabertContributor IAugust 19, 2012

WIGAN, ENGLAND - AUGUST 19:  Eden Hazard of Chelsea in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Wigan Athletic and Chelsea at DW Stadium on August 19, 2012 in Wigan, England.  (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

After the hype that had been drawn out all summer, Eden Hazard finally got the chance to impress on his Premier League debut for Chelsea.

Any player who joins the reigning European champions is bound to have the spotlight thrown upon them, and that is especially true when that player cost £32 million and registered 20 goals and 16 assists the previous season.

The 21-year-old may not have dominated the DW Stadium throughout the game, but he orchestrated the early blitz that secured a 2-0 win against Wigan Athletic on Sunday. 

The Belgian enjoyed seven minutes in heaven right at the start of his career in the English league. He effortlessly rolled past Ivan Ramis in the centre circle and laid on a through-ball right into the thundering run of Branislav Ivanovic, and the defender scored with just two minutes on the clock. 

That action alone would have been enough for a player to consider their outing a satisfying debut, but Hazard was then instrumental in Chelsea doubling their lead while the minute count was still in single figures.

Ramis, the Spanish defender enduring a rather less successful debut, was again the fall guy for Hazard's decisive movement when he brought the former Lille playmaker down inside the area for a clear penalty. Frank Lampard rattled home from the spot, and after the match the veteran was eager to lavish praise on his club's marquee summer signing.

Lampard told Sky Sports: "He was brilliant. It's a young age to come into the Premier League, no matter how good of a player you are.

"He showed the quality he has with the spin and the ball to put Ivanovic through and he showed great speed to get away from his man for the penalty. He was great to play with."

Just as with his competitive debut in the Community Shield the precious weekend against Manchester City, Hazard did not receive a warm welcome to English football at Wigan.

Not long after Chelsea had gone two goals up and threatened to break their record scoreline in an away Premier League game of 6-0 (set against Wigan) Gary Caldwell took his frustration out on the Belgian by going through the back of him.

That earned the Latics captain a booking, something James McCarthy and James McArthur both avoided for their own respective fouls on the player.

It can sometimes take the more diminutive creative players like Hazard time to adapt to the Premier League, but the 21-year-old is not exactly slight of build despite his 5'7" stature, and his grounding in Ligue 1 means he is used a playing in a physical contest.

Manager Roberto Di Matteo withdrew Hazard midway through the second half in order to give another big-money summer acquisition, Oscar, a run-out. Hazard took his place on the bench having completed 17 of his 23 passes, a percentage of 73.9.

Those figures are not exactly impressive in the age of poring over infinite reams of statistics—only Fernando Torres and Franco Di Santo posted lower percentages in that match among the outfield players. However, Hazard was directly involved in both of the match's goals, and they are the figures that really count.

After Hazard's withdrawal, Chelsea did not have quite the same ease in possession or potency going forward. Wigan, having brought on Jordi Gomez and Arouna Kone off the bench, had their best attacking period of the match, helped by some uncharacteristic errors from Ashley Cole and Petr Cech which better sides might have punished.

Too many hasty conclusions are drawn after the first round of matches in any season, but it is not a stretch of the imagination to anticipate Hazard being just as influential in many more games to come this season, if not more so.