Chelsea beat Newcastle United 2-0 to move to nine points after three games in the Premier League season. Throughout Chelsea's strong start to the early season, Eden Hazard has been brilliant for the Blues. With Hazard's strong play, Chelsea has proved early on they are the team to beat.
Against Newcastle, Hazard continued his hot start to the season by looking dangerous and creative in the midfield. After Fernando Torres earned a penalty for Chelsea, Hazard stepped up to take the kick, with regular penalty-taker Frank Lampard on the bench.
Hazard took a short run-up and nailed the penalty for his first goal as a Blue, giving Chelsea a 1-0 advantage.
Right before the half, Hazard and Torres connected beautifully for a give-and-go at the top of the box. Torres found Hazard, who held the ball up and flicked on to a running Torres, who sent the ball into the back of the net.
Throughout the rest of the match, Hazard continued to be strong on the ball and create opportunities. His pace and balance caused problems for the Newcastle defense, just like it did against Wigan Athletic and Reading.
Coming from Ligue 1 in France, it was thought that Hazard would take a while to adjust to the physical nature of play in England. There has been no adjustment period for Hazard, who has started the Premier League campaign in incredible fashion.
In three matches, Hazard has been involved in seven of eight goals for the new-look Chelsea, totaling six assists and a goal of his own.
Hazard's addition to Roberto Di Matteo's side has rejuvenated the team and has Chelsea looking the part of a top-place finisher. Whereas Chelsea relied on strong defense and counterattacking play last season, this year the team is much better in attack, much thanks to Hazard.
In the midfield, Hazard and Mata have paired wonderfully, playing off each other with great chemistry. This chemistry has allowed the two much more freedom moving around the pitch, giving Chelsea a more free-flowing attack. This space further opens the pitch, allowing Torres even more room for his runs.
Torres' struggles over the past year and a half have been well documented. Part of the problem has been a lack of confidence, with another part being poor service. Hazard has drastically improved the service to Torres, and it's no coincidence that Torres is off to a good start.
While Hazard is playing like a seasoned veteran, he's only played in three league games with his new club. The more Hazard plays, the more he will get comfortable and look even better. The potential upside for Hazard is astronomical.
Hazard's strong play has even brought about comparisons to Barcelona's Lionel Messi. While that comparison may be a ways off, Hazard has definitely made a good start.
Chelsea have a three-week break from the league, as they host QPR on Sept. 15th. The Blues' next fixture is Friday, Aug. 31st, in the UEFA Super Cup against Atletico Madrid.
Behind Hazard's dominance, Chelsea are the team to beat and will compete for trophies in each of their competitions.