Chelsea are top of the league after five matchweeks, thanks in large part to the combination of Eden Hazard and Olivier Giroud.
Chelsea are off to a perfect start in the Premier League, in large part thanks to the efforts of Eden Hazard and Olivier Giroud. The two forwards have combined for five goals and seven assists as Chelsea have won their first five matches of the campaign.
This partnership up front has been a revelation for Maurizio Sarri’s side. The Italian manager has brought over his free-flowing, attacking system from Napoli to great success. Hazard looks re-energized finally playing with fluidity and pace in attack, as opposed to years of defensive soccer under Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte.
Hazard’s hat-trick in Chelsea’s 4-1 victory over Cardiff on Saturday offered the rest of the Premier League a reminder of his prodigious gifts. His interplay with Giroud, and his pace and trickery with the ball at his feet are second to none and after years of lacking elite finishing, he’s putting the ball into the back of the net.
Hazard’s five goals are good for the league lead. It was a busy summer for the Belgian. His side made it to the semifinal of the World Cup and a long-rumored move to Real Madrid never materialized, as Hazard saw his countryman Thibault Courtois leave for the Spanish capital. It’s sometimes easy to sleep on how good Hazard has been and is. The 27-year-old is already a two-time league winner and has been named the Premier League and PFA Player of the Year. If he stays in this form, he’s likely to add to those accomplishments.
The addition of Giroud to Chelsea in January has proven to be a savvy bit of business. Initially utilized as a backup to Alvaro Morata, the French international has usurped the starting position. Giroud’s link-up and hold-up play gives the Blues a new look at the 9, and his unselfish attitude has helped Hazard and Willian thrive. Giroud gets a fair bit of stick for his lack of goals, but he’s coming off a World Cup winning summer in Russia and has been instrumental in Chelsea’s fast start.
In a league full of hype for Liverpool’s front three and Manchester City’s robust depth of forwards, the exploits of Harry Kane and the hope of a strike force at Arsenal, it was easy to overlook Chelsea. Sarri has implemented his high-flying style faster than almost anyone could have anticipated. Chelsea sit top of the table on goal difference and are level with Manchester City for the most potent attack. The dynamic duo of Giroud and Hazard deserve the credit for that.