At least once every two years, Chelsea Football Club take it upon themselves to teach some Champions League underlings a lesson in the group stage at Stamford Bridge. In 2012, Nordsjaelland were victims of 1-6 beating; in 2011, Genk were sent back heavily; in 2010, Spartak Moscow lost 1-4. Courtesy of a rare Ivanovic’s brace.
However, as we can see one thing common in the above scorelines, we always conceded a goal. But, 2014 had a different story with respect to the scoreline. We recorded an emphatic win against Slovenian side NK Maribor, a match that ended 6-0 after Didier Drogba scored his first goal through a penalty for The Blues since returning to The Bridge. But there was, however, one Chelsea player who made nearly every touch count. He left the Maribor defenders astounded, with his exhibition of fantastic dribbling and skills. This man was none other than the 23-year-old Belgian superstar Eden Hazard. Let us analyze his game and the reasons why he deserved to receive the Man of the Match award.
HAZARD: THE DEFENSIVE WORKER
Initially, Eden Hazard proclaimed a bit of a defensive attitude, and Chelsea fans did not get to see the sensation cut past too many players and provide killer balls to the front head men. In fact, we rather felt he was approaching the game with a defensive attitude and trying to help his fellow defensive midfielders and fullbacks, especially in the wide positions.
This may have been a direct response and showing of improvement to Mourinho’s criticisms based on the lad’s defense, as we have seen Eden go more defensive and apply great pressure to the opposing attackers at several occasions in the game.
The fact that Hazard has taken the Chelsea boss’ criticism in a positive way and has shown great improvement in his defensive play is truly a remarkable character shown by the Belgian.
HAZARD: THE WORLD-CLASS DRIBBLER
Through-out last season and until now, the Chelsea fans have had the privilege to witness the magical things Eden Hazard is capable of doing in the attacking aspect of the game. Hazard has been a beast going forward as he always seems to make it a point to cut past defenders before putting the ball across to another teammate, doing everything he does in an extremely fluid fashion. And what he did last night on the field, is something out of this world. The technique he showed to go through the Maribor defense playing primarily in the wing, but the switching positions with Oscar was simply a treat to watch.
HAZARD: THE CLINICAL FINISHER
What Eden Hazard had to show for after performing so well, were the two goals he scored. One came off of a penalty and another in the 88th minute when Hazard himself had got enough of his overdose of flaunting his skills! Yes, Hazard was indeed showboating his dribbling skills with a lack of providing an effective final ball on several occasions last night. But all can be forgiven, simply due to the fact that it’s an absolute treat for the Chelsea fans to watch him play. And besides, we were in the lead, and we had the game in our hands, so why not flaunt a bit and try new ways of getting past the opposition?
EDEN HAZARD: MAN OF THE MATCH AGAINST NK MARIBOR
Despite the fact that Hazard could have scored a couple of goals more, if his showboating had been a bit more infrequent, his performance last night was truly special. His ways of getting past the Maribor defenders and the style he used to slot the penalty past the defeated goalkeeper Handanovic can only be expected from one of the world’s best football players in the world. It is fair to say that Eden Hazard has already achieved this status and can only get better and better. All in all, a well-earned Man of the Match title!
Edited By: Harshal Ahire