Gonzalo Higuain and Eden Hazard: The beginning of a love affair at Stamford Bridge?
Chelsea returned to winning ways with a 5-0 thrashing over Huddersfield Town in the English Premier League. Gonzalo Higuain scored two goals at his debut at the Stamford Bridge with his teammate Eden Hazard also scoring two. This win puts Chelsea back into fourth place at least until Arsenal face Manchester City.
People associated with Chelsea will be relieved with their good performance yesterday as their 4-0 defeat against Bournemouth in their previous match was a cause of concern. Higuain had a poor start to his life in England as he failed to register a single shot on target versus Bournemouth but his two goals against Huddersfield will give much-needed confidence to move forward.
Meanwhile, Hazard was his usual, brilliant self despite his brace. He was breaking down barriers at will with his dribbling in the final third, completing 12 take-ons before being substituted.
One of the main positives for Chelsea from this huge victory was Higuain's performance and his link-up with Hazard. In this current 2018/19 season, the inefficiency of Alvaro Morata and the poor form of Willian left Hazard as the sole threat in the final third. The trio's chemistry was average at best, which saw Hazard deployed as false number nine and ultimately, Morata's departure to Atletico Madrid.
Higuain's hold up play was evident against Huddersfield Town as he came deeper, held on to the ball and dragged defenders to make space. Chelsea boss, Maurizio Sarri, admitted how crucial both of them are to his plans until the remainder of the season. Sarri remarked:
"I think that they are really very suitable to play together, close to one another. Gonzalo played very close to Eden and I think they can do this. For us that is very useful. It will be useful for Higuain - I think he will be able to score goals for us - and also useful for Eden."
As evident from the last match, Hazard flourishes with more freedom and space down the left. Higuain's link up and hold up play can provide him with the tools Hazard needs to dismantle defences and have more of an impact in matches.
In total, the Belgian superstar and the Argentinian talisman had a pass combination tally of 21. In the first hour or so, Hazard passed the ball seven times to his forward - more than what he has fed to Giroud or Morata in any game this season. And Higuain was keen to repay the faith- he took more shots on goal than any other Chelsea player in a single game this season.
Both of them played some exquisite one-twos between them, with their exquisite passing and layoffs rendering opponent defenders clueless. As both Hazard and Higuain amplify each other's strength due to their style, there are signs of a new duo in the making at the Stamford Bridge. It remains to be seen how their chemistry fares against better opponents but surely, Chelsea frontline is set to be benefited more from the duo.