Standing on the shoulders of giants, or something of the sort, is always a good way to get ahead in life. Frank Lampard is often a tactical vulnerability on the pitch over the last couple of seasons, but it’s hard to take away his scoring ability which derives from his intelligence and off the ball movement. But yet again, the-now top scoring player in the history of Chelsea football club, needed someone, in this case Eden Hazard, to get him to the top.
Hazard was the one who set up the two goals that didn’t just put Lampard at 203 goals for the team, more than anyone else, but made sure it’ll be impossible for Chelsea to miss out on the Champions League next season, the goal they’ve been fighting and chasing ever since Rafa Benitez became their manager. It seemed like a lost battle during certain stages, going down early, looking like the inferior team and losing Ramires.
But the removal of Victor Moses for David Luiz gave Chelsea much needed stability in the middle, which should have been the direction and decision from the get-go. Benteke got sent off for his second yellow card, and the cue was given for Chelsea to take over the field. Frank Lampard and the rest managed to neglect their defensive needs once the only player worth marking for Villa was off the pitch.
The first goal was mostly Lampard. Hazard did end up with the assist, but it was one of those rare moments when Lampard doesn’t need a band bounce or terrible marking to help him score. Simply excellent shooting with his left foot, which seemed to surprise him as well. The second goal was bad marking in the box, as Lampard wormed his way from behind while Hazard was keeping everyone occupied.
How good has Hazard been on his debut season in England? Nine goals, 11 assists. Some thought he’s going to show he’s the next Messi or something along those lines right off the bat, but Hazard had his ups downs, and you would expect from any 20-21 year old making his first strides in a much tougher league than what he’s been used to so far. Learning to adjust to a new role next to other dominant players couldn’t have been easy, but the Belgian star probably did as well as he could have in 2013.
Mission accomplished, almost, for Rafa Benitez. For once, his choice of Demba Ba or Fernando Torres had little consequence, with the more creative side of the team, sometimes too in-love with the ball and forgetting about the striker they need to “feed”, doing most of the work. Now there’s just the issue of the Europa League to win, and nice little mark can be made for Benitez on his CV, who despite a lack of respect from fans and his own ownership couldn’t have done any better on a team that didn’t really help him feel too welcome from the moment he arrived.