Analyzing Eden Hazard's Performance vs. Cardiff City
The Blues fell behind after just 10 minutes, as Jordon Mutch struck to stun the Stamford Bridge crowd. Led by Hazard, who scored twice and assisted on another tally, Chelsea stormed back to earn three points and keep pace near the top of the Premier League table.
FULL-TIME Chelsea 4-1 Cardiff. Eden Hazard gets two as the Blues hit back strongly after falling behind pic.twitter.com/rD9TAwFPYE— Premier League (@premierleague) October 19, 2013
After the early goal by Cardiff, Chelsea seemed out of sorts. They were struggling to find the form that was on display prior to the international break, and the underdog side was playing a strong enough game to start frustrating the Blues.
Around the half-hour mark, Hazard does what all stars should do when their side is struggling. He elevated his level of play and started pushing the play deeper into the final third, which is what the more talented squad should have done from the outset.
Was today's performance the best of Hazard's Chelsea career?
The hard work paid off, as a heads-up play from Samuel Eto'o led to an easy finish for the Belgian international to level the match.
From there, Hazard's confidence just continued to grow, and Chelsea was able to take over a match that was slowly slipping away in the early going.
The 22-year-old rising star returned the favor to Eto'o just after an hour had elapsed. Once again, he pushed forward with pace to get the Cardiff defense, which has been shaky in the early portion of the campaign, on its heels.
Hazard then calmly delivered a pass to the veteran striker, who found the net for the first time since joining Chelsea with a clinical finish to give the Blues a lead.
After a goal by Oscar to stretch the advantage to two, Hazard closed the scoring with less than 10 minutes left. The final 60 minutes from Chelsea were very impressive, and the comeback might have never happened if Hazard doesn't provide the spark.
Moving forward, the Blues will want to see more performances like this from Hazard. His talent level is off the charts, and he's clearly becoming more comfortable against Premier League competition in his second season with the club.
He's been a solid contributor since he arrived to Stamford Bridge, but all signs point to him developing into a bona fide superstar sooner rather later. To reach that level, Hazard needs to show he can carry Chelsea when things aren't going exactly according to plan.
That's exactly what happened on Saturday, and Cardiff probably doesn't know what hit them. Hazard simply took his game into another gear and played like everybody knows he's capable of, but he has only flashed since moving to the Blues.
Few players, if any, will put together better performances this weekend than Hazard did to push Chelsea past an upset-minded Bluebirds squad.
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