Toon tormentor

Eden Hazard will be hoping to add to his outstanding record against Newcastle United should he be named in the starting line-up for the Magpies’ visit to Stamford Bridge.

‘Can we play you every week?’ is a familiar terrace taunt and the majority of footballers, if pressed on the matter, would probably admit there are certain teams they simply could not face often enough.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, for one, made it his personal mission to score as many goals as possible against Spurs, while you don’t need us to remind you about Didier Drogba’s remarkable record when we took on Arsenal.

While Eden Hazard might not be quite as prolific as that pair, he chips in with more than his fair share of goals – and there are three clubs who tend to be on the receiving end more often than most.

The Belgian ace has netted seven goals apiece against Bournemouth, West Brom and Newcastle United, with his tally against the former coming from only nine matches, which is a record most strikers would be proud of.

However, it is the Toon Army we are focussing on today, for not only does Eden score plenty again them, they have been on the receiving end of some milestone goals during his Chelsea career.

After signing for us from Lille in the summer of 2012, shortly after we’d won the Champions League, Hazard went scoreless through his first three games for the club – although he was still influential, providing five assists in that time.

However, that all changed when Alan Pardew’s Newcastle side visited at the end of August. Magpies defender Davide Santon dangled out a leg as Fernando Torres burst past him, giving us a penalty which Hazard wasted no time claiming. He tucked it away with typical assuredness.

Their next visit to Stamford Bridge came 18 months later, by which point the Blues schemer had marked himself out as one of the Premier League’s leading lights. Under José Mourinho, he had added a steady stream of goals to an already impressive tally of assists, but one thing was missing – a hat-trick.

He had previously scored a treble for his former club Lille in France, but this latest three-goal haul came on the big stage of the Premier League and it showcased Hazard’s incredible talents.

He linked up superbly with Branislav Ivanovic to sweep home his opening goal, but that was nothing compared to the understanding between Chelsea’s then-No17 and Samuel Eto’o. A lightning-quick counter ended with the pair exchanging passes, Eto’o playing the ball back via a cheeky back-heel flick, for Hazard to nonchalantly finish off. Of course, when an opportunity to complete his hat-trick came from the penalty spot, there was only ever going to be one outcome.

And he then broke his duck at St James’ Park back in August, almost six years to the day from his first goal against Newcastle, as he netted our opener in a 2-1 victory. What odds on him adding another at Stamford Bridge today?

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