Eden Hazard's recent brilliance has merely brought him up to the level Juan Mata has delivered all season, but which of the pair will end up the greater player at Chelsea, and could Oscar give them a run for their money?
West Ham knew it would be tricky when they travelled to Stamford Bridge at the weekend, but playing Chelsea is more than tough when both Juan Mata and Eden Hazard are on form, and the pair of them combined to devastating effect to guide their side to a comfortable win.
At no point during this season have Chelsea had a reliable striker to call on, but for most of the time it has barely mattered. Mata became the first player to collect ten league goals and ten assists in the Premier League this season at the weekend, whilst Hazard has eight in each category in the league.
Across all competitions the pair have scored 30 goals and set up 43, and they are now the axis around which Chelsea's attack dominates. Chelsea might not have been able to replace Didier Drogba with another striker of the same quality, but the side has not lost out overall, with their attacking midfielders now the fulcrum of their play.
Hazard matched Mata's goal tally from the Spaniard's first season at the weekend, and there is every chance the Belgian will go on to add a few more in the last few months. The real challenge will be trying to emulate Mata in his second season, when the Spanish maestro has developed into one of the best players in the Premier League.
If Mata continues to improve at his current rate, surely not even Hazard can live with him, but it will be interesting to see which of the pair ends up as the bigger legend at Stamford Bridge. As Frank Lampard nears the end of a glittering career at the Blues, Chelsea have at least two men who look able to carry his mantle to even greater heights.
But they might even have three. So far Oscar's best performances have come in Europe, with his brace against Juventus the mark of a truly special player. Coming from Brazil, he had a harder job to settle in England than Mata or Hazard, but he has certainly done well in his first season. Chelsea will no doubt be hoping he can develop even quicker in the company of Hazard and Mata, and given that all three are still very young, the future looks very bright at Stamford Bridge.
Which of Oscar, Mata and Hazard do you think will end up having the biggest impact at Chelsea?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald
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