Thorgan Hazard made it three goals in four games this season for Zulte Waregem.
Chelsea get their Premier League campaign under way later today, as they welcome the Hull City Tigers (cringe) to Stamford Bridge. The newly promoted side will arrive with plenty of gusto and hope, but would also have done their homework on the majority of Chelsea’s players. For most of the Blues the extra curriculum is not necessary, with most household names Steve Bruce will know what to expect.
However, Chelsea have a plethora of returning loanees that could also cause Hull issues today.
Chelsea have utilised the loan market perhaps better than any other club in recent years, and two of those returnees should have an excellent chance of featuring in todays action - Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku.
The two Belgian internationals both had excellent campaigns while farmed out to Werder Bremen and West Bromwich Albion respectively - and after their pre-season form will likely be involved in some capacity this afternoon.
Meanwhile, the club also have another Belgian international still out on loan, who continues to impress.
Thorgan Hazard is the little brother of Eden, and yesterday he was once again amongst the goals as Zulte Waregem defeated RAEC Mons 2-0 at home - in fact it was Hazard who grabbed both goals with a penalty and 90th minute strike adding polish to the victory, taking his tally to three in four this season.
The result takes Zulte, last season’s runners up in Belgium, to the top of the Pro League - level on points with Lokeren and Club Brugge with 10 after four games (although Standard Liege can go top outright with victory against OH Leuven this afternoon).
Hazard’s double could not however have come at a better time - as internal struggles and boardroom rifts have threatened to damage the growing reputation Zulte have accumulated in the past couple of seasons.
This internal strife culminated in the resignation of controversial CEO Patrick Decuyper last week - something we covered on the site (read all about it here).
But Hazard’s double might serve as a timely distraction - and reminder that he is a Chelsea first-teamer in the making.
image: © mikehamm