Eden Hazard was one of the players to arrive for pre-season training later than most after Belgium reached the semi-finals of the World Cup, but that certainly hasn’t limited his influence early in the campaign...
Hazard arrived back at Cobham less than a week before our opening game at Huddersfield, but the the 27-year-old is already proving to be a pivotal figure for Maurizio Sarri’s side.
Hazard came off the bench late on in the 3-0 win at Huddersfield, laying on our third goal for Pedro after a trademark run which had taken out a host of opposition defenders, and a week later he was introduced as a sub against Arsenal, with the scores level at 2-2, before supplying the pass from which Marcos Alonso scored the winner.
He then scored his first goal of the season last weekend at Newcastle, the Belgian breaking the deadlock from the penalty spot in a 2-1 win, and yesterday netted for the second time in less than a week, firing home from a tight angle to put the seal on our victory against Bournemouth.
Hazard has now scored 71 Premier League goals for the Blues, but there was more to his display yesterday than simply adding his name to the scoresheet.
The attacker was superb throughout and provided five key passes, more than any other player, as well as successfully completing five dribbles, the highest figure of any player on show.
Hazard certainly enjoys playing against Bournemouth.
Matches against Eddie Howe’s side tend to bring the best out of the Belgian, whose goal yesterday helped us maintain our 100 per cent start to the campaign.
His strike, our second of the afternoon, a well-taken finish after a smart one-two with Alonso, was Hazard’s sixth against Bournemouth since they were promoted to the Premier League in 2015.
His first goals against the Cherries arrived at the end of the 2015/16 campaign in a 4-1 win at the Vitality Stadium. The following season he scored from the penalty spot in a 3-0 Boxing-Day victory at Stamford Bridge before finishing brilliantly to make it 2-0 as we closed in on the title with a 3-1 win on the South Coast.
Last season Hazard scored the only goal of the game, a fierce left-footed drive, when we won 1-0 away, and yesterday he added his sixth goal against Bournemouth as we ran out 2-0 winners.
Having been eased into the side, Hazard is now kicking into gear.
After watching him impress for Belgium at the World Cup, and skipper his side to the last four of the competition, it's fair to say the Chelsea supporters are delighted to see him back in blue.
Two goals. Two assists. Four victories. Maximum points.
Long may it continue!