Chelsea Football: Eden Hazard Impresses in Domestic Debut

Colan Lamont@clamontsportAnalyst IIAugust 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

Eden Hazard will have to produce more than one good performance in order to justify the £30 million plus fee Chelsea doled out to Lille, but this was as good a start as he could have hoped for.

The versatile Belgian attacker had an assist for a Branislav Ivanovic goal and a mazy run that earned him a penalty, all within the opening five minutes of the game.

The diminutive playmaker was always willing to take his man on, a dying art throughout most of football.

It was refreshing to see him use his pace to glide past players, as well as a little bit of trickery to create some space for himself.

His technical ability and trickery were on show from the get-go, and his sublime turn that allowed to him to set up Ivanovic was a thing of beauty.

Eve more impressive, though, was the great strength he showed when he was brought down by Ivan Ramis to earn a penalty.

Ramis looked shaky on his debut, but I still expected him to comfortably box out Hazard when he attempted to dribble past the big Spaniard.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

But no, the 5'7" 21 year-old used his low center of gravity to hold off the centre-back and force him into a silly foul.

There were also numerous other examples of Hazard's skill on show, including his step-overs which mesmerised James McArthur at one point, allowing him to effortlessly glide past the Scot.

Hazard also showed a lovely touch when he played a perfect backheel pass to Juan Mata's feet.

I know it is only Hazard's first competitive game with his new side, but I can't help but wonder about the possibilities available to Roberto Di Matteo with his new-look midfield.

Hazard, Mata and new signing Oscar are completely interchangeable, and judging by today, their movement will continue to both terrorise defenses and cause Fernando Torres's eyes to light up.

Hazard had a great impact today, and all over the field too: He had an assist from the halfway line and also won a penalty inside the box of Wigan.

I was also pleasantly surprised by his defensive work because I expected him to be pretty poor in that respect; I'm not saying he is great, but he's not nearly as lazy in tracking back as was made out.

Hazard proved he can handle the physicality of the Premier League, and he also showed a premature understanding with his teammates that can only be admired.

He constantly looked a threat on the ball and had a nice start in justifying the unending hype that has surrounded him since he started talking about all his potential moves as if he was the best player around.

Hazard can be inconsistent, but if this Sunday afternoon was anything to go by, defenses should watch out!


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.