Seeing double

Eden Hazard has been showing again this season why he is one of the world’s most complete attacking talents, reaching double figures for goals and assists already.

By setting up Willian for his winning strike in our last Premier League match, the 2-1 victory over Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge, Hazard added a 10th assist in that competition this term to the 10 goals he had already scored.

In doing so, he became only the second person in any of Europe’s top five leagues to record both of those figures in 2018/19, alongside Barcelona star and World Player of the Year Lionel Messi. But then, that is just the kind of company Hazard deserves to be keeping on the stats pages these days, hopefully the awards committee is paying better attention to the Belgian this year to give him the recognition his achievements are earning.

This is actually the second time Eden has managed such remarkable figures in the Premier League for Chelsea in a single season, and the omens are good as the last time he was in this kind of form he helped us to win the title, in 2014/15.

On that occasion he found the back of the net 14 times, including the goal which sealed the title with a 1-0 home win over Crystal Palace, and set up his team-mates for 10 goals. Although he was the only Chelsea player to reach double figures for both of those, and in fact is the only one to do so in the league since 2013 – current Blues Willian and Pedro have both managed the feat in all competitions – he wasn’t actually our highest scorer or assist maker in that campaign, with those honours going to Spanish internationals Diego Costa (20 goals) and Cesc Fabregas (19 assists).

The last person to hit those figures before our current No10 was his predecessor in that shirt and team-mate during his early years at Stamford Bridge, Juan Mata. No player created more Premier League goals for us than the Spaniard’s 17 in 2012/13, with Hazard three behind in second place, and he also scored 11 times in that competition.

It wasn’t just in the league he had a habit of turning provider for his team-mates either, as he also set up both of our goals as we beat Benfica 2-1 in that season’s Europa League final.

However, the undisputed king of the combined goals and assists is club legend Frank Lampard, who amazingly reached double figures for both on no less than four occasions. The midfielder became the first person to do so for Chelsea in the Premier League as we claimed our first top-flight league title for 50 years in 2004/05, and would do so again in 2006/07, 2008/09 and 2009/10. The No8 had more assists than any other Blues player in all four of those seasons, and his 13 goals in 2004/05 also made him our top league scorer that term.

Just behind him is another of the greatest heroes ever to represent the club, Didier Drogba. He reached double, double figures as we retained the Premier League title in 2005/06 and again in both 2009/10 and 2010/11. The only surprise about that fact is probably that the prolific Ivorian was only our top scorer in one of those seasons, 2009/10, when he hit more goals than any other Premier League player, 29. He secured the Golden Boot award ahead of Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney with a hat-trick on the last day of the season, as we also ended the Red Devils’ title challenge by beating Wigan Athletic 8-0 at Stamford Bridge.

High-scoring wins such as that one were a frequent source of delight for Chelsea fans during that historic first Double-winning campaign, and also accounts for the final two names on the list of Blues players to have managed 10 or more Premier League goals and assists in the same season. Combined with Drogba and Lampard, that means an incredible four different players did so that year, as many as in every other Premier League campaign combined.

The other two were French international duo Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda, the man who pipped Drogba to the top-scorer’s title the following season. Malouda was the only one of the four not to score in that decisive win over Wigan, although he did set up the first of Anelka’s two goals that day, and hit back-to-back braces of his own in big wins over Sunderland and Aston Villa earlier in the season.

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