Much has been made about Eden Hazard’s exit from Chelsea. While it is devasting losing a player like the Belgian, who scored 21 goals and assisted a further 17, does losing him really hamper Chelsea’s top four bid for next season?
My answer would be no, losing him really doesn’t hamper Chelsea’s top four bid.
Chelsea were over-reliant on Hazard due to the failings in breaking teams down while playing ‘Sarriball‘. Hazard was often seen as the player to pass the ball to if Maurizio Sarri’s style of play failed. This can be seen by Hazard’s contribution figures, as he contributed over 30% of Chelsea’s goals last season.
Under Frank Lampard, there is a chance that the style of play will be more polished and far more successful if the Englishman doesn’t take the stubborn approach his predecessor took. Playing to the strengths of his players rather than implementing a style of play and praying it works seems like something Lampard would so as he alluded to in an interview with Goal back in March. In the interview, Lampard said it would wrong to ‘box yourself into one style of play’, which gives Chelsea hope for next season.
As well as the change in styles of play, there could be a greater commitment to actually play for the manager, after an interview from Chelsea star Tammy Abraham claiming there’s no one better to play under than the former Derby County boss. Last season Chelsea players were reportedly said to be less than happy with Sarri during various points of last season, and the club still managed to clinch top four.
Under Lampard, there could be a greater connection as some of the players even played alongside the 41-year-old when he was at Chelsea. And if Chelsea can secure top four when relationships aren’t so good, then imagine what the club can achieve if they are enjoying a great relationship with the manager.
Losing Hazard seems damaging for Chelsea, however, there were big problems last season that if weren’t present could’ve seen Chelsea perform far better. Chelsea need to ensure that the problems of last season don’t arise once again, and if they don’t the club can finish in top four.