Giles Smith is away so taking on the role of early season substitute is Chelsea TV's Chris Cohen.
Having recovered from interviewing ecstatic supporters for the club's channel at the never-to-be-forgotten victory parade in May, Shed Upper-inhabitor Chris turns his attention for this fan-view column to the opening week of the campaign, and a new signing who has caught everyone's attention…
It's very easy to marvel at that Eden Hazard chap isn't it? The kid seems to have it all. There's his electrifying pace, his golden touch, his five assists in his first two Chelsea games, his refined jaw line normally associated with one of those half-naked, towel-wearing types in those shaving cream commercials and of course, the jewel in his crown (knowing the youth scene as well as I do… dudes) the asset he's most proud of I'm sure, half a million followers on Twitter.
In fact, I remember over the summer months, quite a lot of disapproving head shaking and fist waving being directed towards Mr Hazard for his tweeting habits. The media and fans of clubs all over the country were outraged at his perceived arrogance and egotistical attitude to announcing which club he would be joining. In actual fact, looking back at his timeline, it really was rather factual in content. He started with a rather chatty and very polite:
'good afternoon guys. i made up my mind. see you later. Thanks'
And followed that with an incredibly cryptic (to tabloid crossword readers at least):
'I'm signing for the Champions League Winner.'
Quite what all the fuss was about I don't know. After all, whilst all this was going on I'm pretty sure another midfielder at some other west London club was tweeting about how bad the England team were, banging on about his hatred for TOWIE for the 500th time and copying and pasting a deep and emotional epitaph he found on a website littered with pictures of kittens. I'm pretty sure Chelsea's number 17 is something of a better player too.
Anyway, back to the football and over the first two matches in the Premier League thus far our plucky Belgian midfielder has been far and away the best player on the pitch. Some Chelsea fans are likening him to Zola already which seems a touch premature and perhaps a little unfair. After all, Gianfranco hasn't even had a chance to set up a Twitter account yet, but the blue contingent at the DW on Sunday and those at the Bridge on Wednesday night could be forgiven for confusing the two.
The boy was mesmerising and even when Chelsea faltered and Reading took the initiative, he was the one man who the crowd believed could get us back on level terms. After two games in the shirt that really is saying something.
Now, I'm sure when you ask him why he decided to choose Chelsea as his new club he'll tell you about how brilliant the players are, what it means to play for the European champions and how great it is to live in London. Aside from the last point (he clearly hasn't experienced the Northern Line on a Monday morning) these are all valid and acceptable reasons. However, I expect there is another variable that we haven't been told of and perhaps the main reason Mr Hazard was persuaded to join Chelsea; Frank Lampard.
I'm not suggesting that it's been a life-long dream for Eden to play alongside arguably the best and most consistent midfielder in the Premier League over the last 10 years, although I could understand if it was. Rather, I'm suggesting that Frank had a big role to play in persuading Eden to join. It doesn't take a genius at Opta to work out that so far, in his two games for Chelsea, Eden has won two penalties, both of which have been converted by Frank Lampard. Now, if we were to bring out a flipchart and some marker pens and scribble things down and then, using a scientific calculator, make a projection based on these findings, we would be able to say with some confidence that Eden Hazard will win a penalty in every match he plays for Chelsea. That works out, give or take, at about 65 penalties, all of which will be taken and converted by Frank. This doesn't even take into account the goals Frank will be scoring from open play or his annual 30-yard free kick he likes to score at Wembley.
By the end of the season Frank could have scored as many as 80 goals in one season, making him the greatest ever human ever to play football in the Premier League. Frank is a shrewd, intelligent man. He'll have spotted this long before Eden put pen to paper at Chelsea and will have been sending him texts, emails and Facebook messages explaining how brilliant Chelsea is, how Eden can borrow his car whenever he wants and how Frank can TOTALLY sort out tickets to be in the audience for Dancing on Ice using his connections. Eden really had no choice at that point but to sign for Chelsea Football Club.
Sadly for Frank there is one variable he didn't factor in to his cunning plan and that of course is the striking force of Branislav Ivanovic. Both are currently locked head to head with two goals a pop and it will be a titanic struggle of gargantuan proportions to see who will finish top come May next year.
It's also worth noting who provided the assists for both of Brani's goals. Maybe a similar piece of inter-player bribery took place between the Serb and the Belgian over the summer? Actually, watching Chelsea's fourth again from Wednesday night, just as Eden was about to pull the trigger you can make out Branislav shouting the words. 'You can sit next to me on the coach next week,' to his teammate. Nice work Ivanovic, nice work.