Eden Hazard Goes from Zero to Hero as Chelsea Escape Against West Brom

Garry HayesFeatured ColumnistNovember 9, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 09: Eden Hazard of Chelsea celebrates with team mate Demba Ba after scoring the equaliser during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge on November 09, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

What seemed like a week to forget for Eden Hazard became one to remember as the Belgian rescued a point for Chelsea with all but the last kick of the game against West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge.

Hazard had been very publicly left out of the Blues' midweek victory over Schalke in the Champions League, having arrived back late from a trip to France where he had watched his former team Lille in action against Monaco.

His manager Jose Mourinho was suitably unimpressed with his conduct, dropping Hazard from his squad as part of his punishment.

Restored to the lineup on Saturday, however, he showed his class with a calmly taken penalty kick in the fifth minute of stoppage time to draw Chelsea level at 2-2.

"It was a big penalty," commented Mourinho (reported by ChelseaFC.com). "Penalties in training sessions are easy to score, I can score them. Penalties if you are winning three or 4-0 are easy, too. This was a difficult one and the kid was very calm."

Hazard slots home his penalty.
Hazard slots home his penalty.Ian Walton/Getty Images

It was high praise indeed for Hazard from his manager and his performance against the Baggies proved the perfect riposte to this week's drama.

Where his character may have been questioned on the back of his misdemeanors, there can be no doubting the 22-year-old's ability and Mourinho will be relieved he opted to limit his absence at just one game.

As recent results have shown, if the Portuguese is to return to Stamford Bridge this season and bring immediate success in the form of Chelsea's fourth Premier League title, they are not going to have it all their own way.

The stats may tell us otherwise—Chelsea enjoyed 69 percent of the possession and had 17 shots to the visitor's 11—but West Brom more than matched Mourinho's team.

Steve Clarke ensured the Baggies frustrated Chelsea and had they come away victorious, the Blues would have had few complaints.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 09: Chelsea Eden Hazard gets past West Brom's Chris Brunt during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge on November 09, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/
Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

They need to get back to winning ways—and fast. Within a week they have dropped five points in the league, while their rivals continue to rack them up.

Mourinho knows things can be better and for Chelsea to achieve success he also knows they need the likes of Hazard, as Saturday proved.

His performance was one of the positives for Chelsea this weekend and so too was Mourinho maintaining his remarkable record of never losing a Premier League match at Stamford Bridge.

That run extends to 66 matches now and while West Brom may have come close to ending that, the psychological advantage such a record brings will prove valuable as the season develops.

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @garryhayes