Eden Hazard Says a Top-4 Finish Is Chelsea's Target, Not Premier League Title

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistNovember 27, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: Eden Hazard of Chelsea in action during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea FC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on November 24, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Chelsea forward Eden Hazard has said the team's target for the campaign is to finish in the top four, not win the Premier League title. 

The Blues lost for the first time in English football's top flight this season on Saturday, as they were rolled over 3-1 by rivals Tottenham Hotspur. After Manchester City's 4-0 win at West Ham United, Chelsea now find themselves in fourth place, seven points off the defending champions and leaders.

Speaking about the hopes for this season, Hazard said City's form has put a check on their hopes of being crowned champions, per John Cross of the Daily Mirror:

"We are thinking about finishing in the top four, not to be the champions. We know City are not much better than Chelsea, but they are better at the moment.

"In what areas are City better? A lot of things: possession; when they have chances, they score; maybe defensively they are better. They have top players. Is it due to their consistency as well, winning game after game? Yes, of course. They are in a good momentum since last year, and we need to be back like this." 

Following Maurizio Sarri's appointment in the summer Chelsea performed brilliantly in the early weeks of the campaign, and it's only recently the team have struggled for form, picking up just one point from their last two Premier League games.

As Liam Twomey of ESPN FC noted after the emphatic loss to Spurs, the scoreline could've been much worse on the day:

Despite the recent slump, overall the start to the season has been a positive one for the Blues, especially when you consider the summer of uncertainty the team underwent.

Antonio Conte was only replaced by Sarri after pre-season training had started, and the team also lost goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who had long been one of best stoppers in the country.

Sarri has sought to implement a new philosophy and although it has worked in the main, unsurprisingly there are still issues for him to sort out. Those weaknesses were isolated and exploited by Tottenham in the clash on Saturday.

At the moment, the Italian doesn't appear to be getting the best out of N'Golo Kante, who has been a defensive force in midfield previously:

Squawka Football @Squawka

N’Golo Kanté tackles per 90 by every season of top-flight football: 2014/15: 5.0 2015/16: 5.2 2016/17: 3.6 2017/18: 3.4 2018/19: 1.8 Should he play at the base of midfield? 🤔 https://t.co/Xr6ENa550f

Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph commented on how Tottenham were able to shut the team down in this area: 

Matt Law @Matt_Law_DT

Clever tactic from Tottenham to let Chelsea give Kante the ball in forward positions. His passing and delivery is his weak point

Hazard has also been quieter in recent weeks, having started the season in such exquisite form. He scored his seventh goal of the Premier League season in the 3-0 win at Southampton on October 7 and has not been able to find the net since that day.

With Arsenal getting better under Unai Emery and Everton also up into the top six, the Blues may be looking a little nervously over their shoulder amid the current malaise. However, a home clash with Fulham presents an ideal opportunity to get back on track domestically on Sunday.