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The Curious Case of Hazard

The Curious Case of Hazard

Young, skillful, often swashbuckling, always amiable and probably ambitious but sometimes inconsistent and looked rather disinterested most of the time in Brazil; why did Eden flop so spectacularly at the FIFA World Cup?

Maybe it was the tropical weather? Too hot to hand him enough warmth to shine and dazzle, if not bamboozle and blitz unsuspecting defenders as usual?
Maybe one can blame his off-colour performance on the colourfully noisy Brazilian fans who have so far made each of the 61 Match Days such a beautiful carnival of football-drunk nations and festival of the beautiful game - lively crowds who could have constituted a distraction?
Perhaps it was the team chemistry glaringly lacking within the Belgium squad or dearth of a distinct style and system of play [un]employed by coach Marc Wilmots?

Just what hit Eden?
Surely there was no Jose Mourinho somewhere in the crowd with a remote control trying to stop, shackle or 'malcoach' him from playing football... at least from what I'd been watching on TV anyway.

Whatever it was though, one thing is undebatable - Eden Hazard had a World Cup to forget, at least by his high standards.

It's forlorn to try to defend the indefensible; there's no need for that, no, there's none as that would be one futile exercise too futile to try. The Chelsea Player of the Year and England PFA Young Player of the Year 2014, KOed at the quarter final stage by Lionel Messi's Argentina was supposed to be the Belgium so-called 'golden generation' poster boy and one of the stars of the show, and while it can be argued World Footballer of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo was the highest profile flop in town, it must not be swept under the carpet that Eden Hazard's dismally poor output of zero goal and two assists in his debut World Cup was the poorest return of all participants with his kind of reputation; even the much maligned Oscar has so far got a goal and three assists, and counting.

Inasmuch as the general indictment is that all 6 Belgium goals at the World Cup always came uncomfortably too late in a match, precisely usually after the 70th minute mark, the new Chelsea no.10 - if he ever introspects - has got to be personally embarrassed and mad at himself for what he's done or failed to do to lift his country on his back like the other no.10 and 6-goal hero, who singlehandedly scored as many goals as the entire Belgium national team, James Rodriguez did for Columbia. If not then something is seriously amiss, and that's just not good enough; not for him, not for his confidence, not for this writer's comfort and certainly not for Chelsea's ambitions.

The jury is still out back in England, and I'm sure Eden knows just how unpatronizing they can be; as a Chelsea player he must know the drill though.Besides, with the Twitter meltdown and public outcry following his substitution which marked the end of his abysmal 'campaign' in Brazil, he's simply got to buckle up and get back to form, especially now that the summer transfer window is well and truly wide open.

I'm not sure if it is such a great idea to allow Tottenham grab Memphis Depay or Arsenal, Alexis Sanchez - two guys I see as more athletic and quicker versions of Eden - one sure thing I learnt from the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazilâ„¢ is that our lauded POTY and England PFA YPOTY is far from the player we all want him to be or think he is, and that he needs serious support as well as competition back at Chelsea Football Club.

What did you make of Hazard's showing in Brazil?

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Monday July 7 2014
Time: 7:38AM


He is still such a young guy...dont rate him after his first world cup! He had a great season with us...and will have a great season.....yes he is far away from his best...but he will be ready after his well deserved holiday!
07/07/2014 07:55:00
he is not young anymore at 23, Messi was already a ballon dor winner at his age, though hazard is hazard and Messi is Messi, what I noticed about him during the world cup is that he is too restricted, he sticks too much on the LW, and he is not adventurous enough to take the team on his shoulders like neymar and Rodriguez, his finishing is still poor compared to the duo, I believe hazard would be more dangerous behind the striker or in a free role rather than being limited at LW.
07/07/2014 08:11:00
another thing I noticed was that he is usually isolated at LW, hardly gets supported by the Belgian LB when going forward. he tracks back too much and also needs to express himself fearlessly as he was doing under di Matteo and benitez
07/07/2014 08:13:00
How was lionel messi's performance in world cup 2010?
07/07/2014 08:14:00
a player is only as good as his team is ... not even messi or ronaldo could motivate that disjointed belgium unit ...and disgusting long ball tactics for the whole game ruined the co ordination between them n no diff strategy
07/07/2014 08:21:00
Desmondadonis, One thing Hazard does not do is track back too much. It is the weakest part of his game. Hazard is a good footballer but he thinks he is a superstar. He is too lazy on the pitch and too lazy in training. Hazard should be terrorizing defenses the way Robben does.
07/07/2014 08:43:00
one thing is at this stage and with the rate he is going, he will never be as good as messi, the highest i think he can get to at this rate is that he will be as good as robben..hazard doesnt improve a 2years that he has spent at chelsea, he has improved just a little and it was that same period marco reus has developed fast into a star player from moving from monglegabach to dortmund..... if hazard contunues to improve at this slow rate, he will only get to robben's height and not ronaldo/messi's .
07/07/2014 08:59:00
@hazard11 he will be a great player surely if he plays under mourinho with his heads down n work for the team ... tracking back is not a big issue for now since they can improve it with time like oscar excellent at tracking back but no but not as offensive as hazard though both have very good future ahead of them if they play with an open mind
07/07/2014 09:10:00
I am actually a bit tired of this tracking back proposition. Oscar tracks back so much there is nothing attacking about him as a midfielder anymore. I hope that doesn't become the case with Hazard. At least when people said Arjen Robben's was lazy, his attacking game was so dangerous. Eden hazard on the other hand, hate to say it, hasn't improved much since Lille. The same flaws still exist in his game and some of those unattractive intangibles still exist. But I do agree with Hazard11. Not just Reus, but Ramsey, Bale, Kroos, Sanchez, and my lord, even Raheem Sterling have seen significant growth in their game. If Hazard doesn't register such growth in his game this season, then all the Messi/Ronaldo and Ballon D'or talk should be shoved in the dustbin in London.
07/07/2014 09:22:00
Hazard inconsistency has always been the problem I've always had with him.... At the rate of his slow improvement like Hazard11 said, even DiMaria would have a better shot at the Ballon d'or than him.....
07/07/2014 10:12:00
Hazard needs to learn to accept responsibilities & step up to the game..... The way Robben has being carrying Netherlands throughout this world cup is impressive or Bale at madrid in Ronaldo's absence or Reus at Dortmund etc, Hazard needs to start showing the drive/desire/goal/intensity of these players...
07/07/2014 10:16:00
Look on the bright side. You signed a player who played well in the Prem last season followed by a poor World Cup. Got to be better than signing a player who has had a good World Cup, but then bombs in the Prem.
Cider spurs
07/07/2014 10:32:00
Spot on Josh Mou.... put into writing a thought that has been bugging my mind since the first belgium game.. I am seriously worried about Hazard especially if we are allowing players like Markovic, Sanchez and Depay even Rodriguez to move to other teams unchallenged. What Hazard deperately needs now in chelsea are playes that can take the burden of creativity off him. teams will continuously get wiser and this season won't be any different. Hazard was closed down very quickly, double marked and triple marked out of the games which on the upside allowed Dries Merten huge space to perform. had his contribution been more on the spot. belgium would still be in the competion. honestly we should not allowed Sanchez to go to Arsenal or Liverpool without giving it a go. This is the kind of player that can take pressure of Hazard as defenders would be forced to track his livewire movements and allow hazard some breathing space. except we are still in for Lavezzi, neither willian or Oscar or Schrulle can be relied upon for the kind of creativity that can open up suddenly space or a one touch dribble that would make something out of the ordinary happen into which hazard can pounce on. Also as a matter of importance is getting a LB that is very good in attacking transitions and crossing. I don't believe the experiment of hazard as a 10 would work for long. he likes to drift to the wings and the suuport of a very good LB would be crucial to overloading the wings.
07/07/2014 10:54:00
the only player with the livewire, quick turn movements that we have in our books right now is Salah... He is very quick, with turns and twist and always look for a one two pass ( a throwback to his days in Swiss league) but his final ball/decision lets him down. Lets face facts.. Sanchez is currently the closest thing available to Suarez at the moment, sudden movements, acceleration and all and we would be mugs if we are willing to pay 30+ millions for Fabregas but pass off a quality striker/WF who would offer us something totally different to Diego or Lukaku.
07/07/2014 10:59:00
So, now all of a sudden, everybody wants sanchez and we already don't have place for Schrulle, Willian & Salah (All Jose Buys). And one simple thing, you can't buy every player, your opposition wants. I guess, Both Jose & Emenalo are smart and they know what they want or lack in our team. We will fix the gaps. Let other teams also fix their gaps. I am waiting for yet another roller coaster ride season
07/07/2014 11:30:00
I wont agree that Hazard has not improved. He has improved, but not at the pace we thought. It may be due to our style of play. Jose insist on team work & tracking back. This is hampering player's attacking instincts. I guess, Hazard could do better if allowed to play in arsenal or even spurs.
07/07/2014 11:32:00
I am looking forward to more of Salah this season. There will be no excuses for his misses this season.
07/07/2014 11:33:00
Somepeople trying to compare hazard to messi? Messi was a balon d or winner at 23 so what? This (being his 3rd world cup) is the 1st worldcup that he is living up to expectation.. Plz cut hazard some slacks
07/07/2014 11:50:00
Bayern Munich didn't get to all these Champions League Finals and semi-finals and win quadruples etc with Robben being lazy. If Chelsea are to win the Champions League again every player must give 100% effort. If Hazard had put in more effort against A. Madrid we might very well have played Real Madrid in the Final.
07/07/2014 12:01:00
Blu_run's sentiments mirror mine as well. Hazard has improved but not at the pace many want. On the other issue, I think he meant he would have more freedom to attack if he played for those teams. If he is given that more freedom, his numbers would definitely increase. Bale truly became world class after AVB shifted him to the 10 position, Neymar's dissimilar performances for club & country is as a result of the level of freedom he gets. Messi is another example who started well on the wings & exploded when moved to the center (I still don't get if he is a 10 or a false 9). I don't understand why some of you are clamouring for Sanchez or Depay, is it that you don't expect improvement from the current set of AM's at Chelsea? A team doesn't improve by constantly changing, patience is also needed.
Louis Lancuv
07/07/2014 12:11:00
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