The goals and wins are coming for Chelsea as they find themselves perched second in the Premier League, but the ability continues to be somewhat of an issue, even against some of the league’s weaker sides. One thing evident from the last couple of weeks? Eden Hazard has to be on the pitch for the team to reach its full potential.
Because at the end of the day, it comes down to talent in the attacking midfield. That, and their manager, is the only thing Chelsea might have an advantage in when it comes to their title rivals. Theymight have the best goalkeeper but not by much. Their defense clearly isn’t the best, especially when John Terry is playing. Mourinho might be in love with his influence and leadership, but no matter what pairing he creates faces some problems, while Ashley Cole is declining on the left side.
The midfield might be the Achilles heel, as it was last season. The partnership between Frank Lampard and Ramires does work from time to time, but Lampard simply isn’t cut out to be playing in this position. He might be doing wonderfully when it’s time to take a penalty kick, but compared to Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham, Chelsea are quite inferior in that aspect.
The attacking midfield is something different, with Oscar, Juan Mata, Willian and Eden Hazard, while Andre Schurrle, more of a left winger anyway, also falls into the category. It might not be better than what Arsenal are presenting right now, although the definition is a bit more fluid between attacking and central midfielders for the league leaders, partially because so many injuries cause players to shift position.
However, there’s no doubt what Chelsea’s strongest department is, and who is its best player. Juan Mata might have his moments, but Jose Mourinho doesn’t trust in him to play well as the man behind the striker, so he’s being wasted away on the right wing. Whether or not he’ll be able to become a more consistent performer from that position remains to be seen.
Oscar? He’s good, and maybe the best out of the four when it comes to off the ball movement and finding himself in scoring positions, but it’s hard to question the fact that both Hazard and Mata are much better passers, and Hazard is just as good of a finisher. He might be playing in a wider role, but that doesn’t mean he’s less important.
There’s not one barometer for Chelsea this season, but the last two weeks have been about Hazard finding himself once more at the center of attentions after having his wings clipped recently by Mourinho. He’s still starting out wider than he should, but he’s adapting to the new system and finding himself more and more in scoring positions, adding two more in the win over Cardiff. And if there’s one player that has the potential to so good it might erase the other problems on this team (Without even touching their terrible striker situation), it’s Eden Hazard. From the looks of things, he’s finally back on track to make it happen.