Forward Eden Hazard is as important to Chelsea as any footballer is to any team anywhere in the world. Due to the Blues’ issues at centre-forward, manager Antonio Conte has been playing Hazard out of his natural position on the wing, and instead using him as a false nine.
Eden Hazard has been vocal about the fact that he is being played out of position in the past (of course while also maintaining that he is very willing to do so), but this weekend, after a 1-0 loss at Manchester City, the 27-year-old expressed his discontent with his role in a new manner.
After the game, the Belgian said that he felt like he didn’t even play a game of football- that’s how inconsequential he felt his impact was on Sunday afternoon. The 2014-15 PFA Player of the Year stopped short of criticizing Conte’s tactics though, which were extremely defensive and very pragmatic yesterday.
“I had the feeling that I’d ran, but that I hadn’t played a game of football. That’s a pity,” Eden Hazard said.
“We could have played on for three hours, but I wouldn’t touch the ball. It only went better at the end of the game.”
“When the manager decides to play me as a false nine, I try to do my best, but it was complicated with their pressing. When we had the ball, we were immediately surrounded by 3-4 players. We should have made better decisions when we had it too.”
After the game, Conte adamantly defended the tactics that he chose to utilize.
Hazard played a full game, but only had 31 touches to show for it, as Chelsea failed to register even one shot on target at The Etihad. The more Hazard expresses discontent with his role, the more traction all those transfer rumors to Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain will gain.
If Chelsea continue to fall further back in the race for top four, the more we’ll hear about Hazard potentially moving on to another club this summer, or in the near future. At age 27, he’s in his prime right now, with his best years of all, at least in theory, coming up.
He might want to spend those seasons with a club that he feels better utilizes him.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.
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