Watching the first of the Blues’ Champions League quarterfinal against the French champions, I couldn't help but feel frustrated on behalf of Eden Hazard and it suddenly reminded me of how I used to feel for Gareth Bale at Tottenham.
It also brought back memories of Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard rolling his eyes to the sky when Rafael Benitez took Fernando Torres off – his face simply says it all. It’s hard work being the best player on the team, having to create and finish everything yourself and that’s exactly what Hazard found himself attempting to do in Paris – except this time, Torres might as well have been off the pitch.
It’s not just the Spaniard – I’m not going to criticise Torres anymore as part of my New Year’s resolutions – but Chelsea’s strikers in general and, last night, the entire team. The defence were uncharacteristically hopeless, the midfield were overrun and the forwards were completely outclassed and barely caused PSG a problem all night. Chelsea simply didn’t show up.
However, this could also be said of their Premier League defeats to Crystal Palace and Aston Villa and it leaves me concerned that the Blues are becoming way too over-reliant on Hazard.
The 23-year-old Belgian winger has scored 16 goals and made 10 assists in all competitions for the Blues this term so it’s understandable there is expectation of him to provide goals and assists but the goals he has scored and made in the Premier League represent 37% of Chelsea’s goals in total and a massive 44% of the Blues’ goal difference.
Watching Gary Cahill, David Luiz and even John Terry exposed last night he probably felt the way Gerrard did back then and perhaps even the way Gareth Bale did last season at Spurs. The Welshman and currently the world’s most expensive football player accounted for 45% of Spurs’ goals last term through goals scored and created and if the Blues aren’t careful, Hazard will soon be equaling that kind of percentage – they are closer than close to becoming a one-man team.