Last season was an anomaly for Chelsea. A poor start cost the Blues dearly and they were never able to recover – and Eden Hazard’s form and confidence took a huge hit. The Belgium international struggled through the campaign and it was quite painful to watch such a magnificent footballer failing to perform. In a way, it looked like Hazard simply didn’t want to be out there; however his performances at the end of the campaign have helped to create renewed optimism and hope at Stamford Bridge.
And with Antonio Conte at the helm, Hazard could be let loose as Chelsea’s main man once again. In the final few weeks of the season, the Blues star shone and Chelsea flourished directly because of his impact and influence. Who could forget his incredible strike in the 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur? You know, the one that denied Spurs any chance of winning the Premier League crown? It was an unbelievable piece of skill – made even better considering his poor campaign.
Hazard was even linked with multiple moves away from Chelsea this summer at one stage but nothing ever really materialised – much to the delight of most Blues fans. And although Belgium suffered a shock quarter quarter-final exit at the hands of Chris Coleman’s Wales at Euro 2016, Hazard’s impressive individual performances will have raised a few eyebrows amongst Chelsea supporters. He is almost back to his brilliant best and Chelsea, priced at 6/1 to win the title with Coral, will benefit directly from his return to peak form.
Right now, the Belgium man will fancy his chances of leading Chelsea back to the summit of English football. Conte will give the Blues a new lease of life and, while his philosophy and style is very similar to that of Jose Mourinho, Hazard will be one of the main beneficiaries from Conte’s system. After all, Hazard will enjoy that little of extra freedom under the former Italy boss and the Belgian should be able to create more in attacking areas; especially on the counter attack.
Chelsea aren’t the finished article just yet; Conte still has plenty of work to do in order to ensure that they are ready for the new season. Coral are currently offering 8/15 on Chelsea to break back into the top four this year and you would have to fancy the Blues to return to the competitive end of the Premier League table. Simply put, they are far too good to be lingering around mid-table and Conte won’t stand for mediocre efforts; Chelsea WILL be back up there and fighting for silverware – there’s no doubt about that.
On their day, the Blues have what it takes to win the Premier League title but it is hard to see Conte’s men doing that just yet. However with Hazard back in form, it would be foolish to dismiss them completely. Chelsea have plenty of potential and with a couple of transfers, they could go on to climb above the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal and Spurs on their way to lifting a fifth Premier League crown.