Chelsea attacker Eden Hazard is excited by the prospect of facing Mathieu Debuchy in a London derby after his former Lille teammate joined Arsenal. Debuchy completed a summer transfer from Newcastle to the Emirates Stadium for around £12 million.
The duo played together at Lille for five seasons, during which time they completed a memorable French league and cup double in 2011, before the coveted Hazard moved to Stamford Bridge a year later.
Debuchy followed the Belgian to the Premier League in the January transfer window that followed and, having impressed immensely with Newcastle, was recruited by Arsenal 18 months later to join Hazard in London.
Hazard and Debuchy will now have the opportunity to contest a capital contest, and the former is delighted to have seen his close friend join a club of such repute.
“It is very exciting, because Debuchy is my friend. We won everything in Lille together,” Hazard told Sky Sports.
“Last season was my first game against him when he was at Newcastle. It is always good to play against your friend.”
Chelsea and Arsenal will meet for the first time this season on October 5 as Arsene Wenger takes his side to west London, but Hazard will have to wait until he faces Debuchy in Gunners colours following the injury sustained by the France international.
Debuchy suffered a nasty looking ankle sprain during the draw with Manchester City last weekend, and it is expected that he will be unavailable for around two months having sustained ligament damage.
His absence has prompted something of an injury crisis at Arsenal, with the club able to take only three fit senior defenders to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday evening, while debutant Hector Bellerin was tasked with filling in for Debuchy. It was a tough test for the youngster.
Dortmund cruised past Arsenal at the Westfalenstadion, with the 2-0 scoreline one that hardly reflected the dominance of the home side from minute one in this Champions League group stage opener.
And while it may not have simply been a performance of defensive ineptitude, with the Gunners poor in all departments, the problems endured in Germany did serve to highlight Wenger’s failings in the transfer market.
The Arsenal manager did spend well on attacking acquisitions but, following the departure of Thomas Vermaelen, ought to have recruited another proven defender, while the failure to sign a holding midfield player of repute is an increasingly glaring error.