Maintaining their 100% start to the season, there is certainly a new found optimism around Stamford Bridge.
Beating Cardiff 4-1 over the weekend, Chelsea are one of just two sides to hold maximum points.
Showing a new attacking identity under Maurizio Sarri, Belgian winger Eden Hazard has epitomized the Blues’ successful start to the year.
Leading his nation to a Bronze medal finish in Russia, the 27-year-old has started the new season in scintillating form.
Picking up three Man of the Match awards on the bounce, is Hazard announcing himself among the world elite?
Eden Hazard’s rise at Chelsea
Now regarded to be one of the most exciting properties in European football, Hazard’s rise has been nothing short of emphatic.
Moving from Lille back in 2012 under then boss Roberto Di Matteo, he is now entering his sixth season in SW6.
Quickly establishing himself as Chelsea’s main man, he has won five major honours during his reign.
Including two Premier League titles, an FA Cup winners’ medal and Europa League glory in 2013.
Adding to a glittering resume, Hazard was named in the UEFA Team of the Year last season.
Continuing to show his importance to Chelsea, he has picked up their Player of the Year award on three occasions.
To fully comprehend Hazard’s rise, you must look at his continued stats since his Premier League debut in August 2012.
Since then, Hazard has been directly involved in more goals than any other midfielder in England’s top tier.
114 – Since his Premier League debut in August 2012, Eden Hazard has been directly involved in more goals than any other midfielder in the competition (73 goals, 41 assists). Magician. #CHECAR pic.twitter.com/GsNE6tTlMG
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 15, 2018
Dubbed the ‘King of Stamford Bridge’, Hazard has scored 94 times in over 300 appearances for the Blues.
Chelsea’s talisman has also been included in the 55 man shortlist for the FIFA FIFPro World11 2018.
Becoming the complete package?
Before he can be considered world class, many have argued that Hazard must improve on his goal return.
Much like Moh Salah found out last season, a 20 plus campaign can skyrocket you into superstardom.
While his reputation has only continued to grow, Hazard is yet to have a standout season in front of goal.
His finest goalscoring season came back with Lille in the 2011/2012 Ligue 1 campaign when he grabbed 20 for the year.
Hazard’s best year in royal blue came back in 2015 when he scored 19 goals.
Since then, he has bagged 17 in each of the past two seasons.
Coming off the back of putting three past Cardiff last weekend, Hazard now has five already this year.
Gianfranco Zola bowing down to Eden Hazard 👑 pic.twitter.com/ca2wdV1oTO
— Hazard Stuff (@HazardStuff_) September 15, 2018
He also became the former Champions ninth highest goalscorer in history.
With Chelsea looking to mount a push for Champions League football again, Sarri has set his talisman a huge target.
“We have spoken and I told him he can score 40 goals. He has to improve some things, but he can do it.”
Whether he is trying to show Madrid what they missed out on, or prove a point to a new boss, he has the air of a player looking to make a statement.
After five games, he currently sits atop of the Premier League goalscoring charts.
Working under his new boss, Hazard could have the chance to replicate how Dries Mertins flourished under the 59-year-old.
Often referred to a player on the fringes of breaking out, Hazard’s Belgium compatriot scored over 60 goals in his past two seasons for Napoli.
The Sarri effect
While Hazard has flourished under the likes of Conte and Mourinho, there is no doubt on the immediate impact Sarri has had.
The former Napoli bosses 4-3-3 formation has offered Chelsea, and Hazard a new attacking identity.
Although on paper, Hazard plays off the left of Chelsea’s attacking trio, there is much more to the Belgium internationals role in Sarri’s side.
With an overwhelming amount of protection from Jorginho and N’Golo Kante, Chelsea’s talisman has a license to roam.
Playing between the lines and almost as a number 10, Hazard appears to be relishing his freedom.
Directly involved in six of the Blues’ 14 goals, no player in the Premier League has been involved in more goals after five games.
In fact, he has now been involved in a Chelsea goal every 44 minutes.
Eden Hazard doing Eden Hazard things at the start of the season. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/SLIxFJcD5L
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 16, 2018
Even though a move to the Spanish capital seemed almost inevitable over the summer, his decision to stay in West London looks like a good one.
The key to a Chelsea title challenge, he now finds his stock at an all-time high.
At 27 and appearing to be just hitting his majestic best, is Hazard announcing himself among the world elite?