Joint Premier League leaders Chelsea aim to continue their strong start to the season as they come up against a Manchester United side who are having a little bit of a crisis of confidence. Jose Mourinho brings his squad down to London knowing that the Red Devils have failed to even register a goal in their last four visits to Stamford Bridge and will hope to change that statistic. A huge factor in Chelsea’s recent domination in this fixture in recent years is the contribution of Eden Hazard. The Belgian loves playing against Man U and, with the form he is currently in, it is no doubt that if he is on his game, Chelsea will come out on top once again.
In Jose Mourinho’s first return to the Bridge after leaving for the second time, he faced a Chelsea side in the midst of a winning run. His side failed to contain the Blues, especially Eden Hazard, as Chelsea cantered to a 4-0 victory. Hazard was the fulcrum of everything the Blues did well that afternoon. As well as scoring a goal, he had more successful dribbles than anyone else on the pitch as well as having the most shots of any Chelsea player.
The next time United came to Stamford Bridge, Mourinho had learnt from his mistakes in the previous match and set out a tactical gameplan that would make sure Hazard would be kept quiet. Ander Herrera was tasked with a man-marking assignment and took to the instructions with force. Hazard was one step ahead however and made sure to draw foul after foul eventually leading to Herrera’s dismissal. From that point Hazard again took control of the game. As usual, he had most dribbles in the match with six. Furthermore, he had the second highest pass percentage in the match and the highest of everyone who started the match. He also had the second most touches on the pitch as everything went through the talented Belgian on the way to a 1-0 victory.
The last time the two sides faced each other was in last season’s FA Cup final in which Eden Hazard was the decisive man yet again. The Blues won their eighth FA Cup title as Hazard tormented the Manchester United defence. It was his mazy run that tempted Phil Jones into a foolish challenge that led to Chelsea’s penalty. Eden Hazard dispatched with ease and secured the victory.
Although Mourinho would be foolish to solely focus on Hazard, the Belgian’s influence cannot be underestimated. When he plays well, Chelsea plays well and so far this season, he is at the top his game. Sitting at the top of the goalscoring charts with seven goals and three assists in only 577 minutes of football, if Chelsea win today, Hazard will be the reason.