Having left the pitch against Paris Saint-Germain week amidst a cacophony of abuse from his own supporters, Eden Hazard’s season has reached a new low.
The Belgian has plummeted dramatically from his dizzying heights of 2014-15 and without a single goal from open play this season his form is becoming laughable. Many Chelsea fans are now welcoming the prospect of the 25-year-old departing Stamford Bridge.
However, the reason for his decline could be linked to Didier Drogba’s departure in the summer. While far from the predominant reason, it seems to have played its role in the Belgian’s high-profile nosedive.
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Hazard’s Chelsea career had appeared equally frayed by the end of the 2013-14 campaign.
The Belgian was interviewed wearing a PSG jersey after losing 3-1 to the French side in the Champions League, which added substance to the rumour mill that he had his sights set on Paris. Moreover, their semi-final clash with Atletico Madrid saw Hazard criticised by Jose Mourinho for not fulfilling his defensive duties.
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However, the return of Drogba in the summer of 2014 helped to settle the tensions in west London. After all, the Ivorian is believed to have played a key role in persuading Hazard to move from Lille to Chelsea in 2012.
Furthermore, according to the Telegraph, Drogba reminded Hazard what it takes to play in the Premier League and to take his career more seriously.
The pair’s respective Chelsea tenures only coincided for a single year but it proves Hazard’s most potent campaign at Stamford Bridge thus far. Drogba cannot receive all the plaudits yet in putting his arm around the Belgian, he helped the 25-year-old become the PFA Player of the Year award.
Chelsea’s decision to let Drogba go last summer has been questioned for a number of reasons. After all, the club has undoubtedly missed his experience and inspirational persona in the dressing room.
However, Hazard’s recent slump suggests that the club legend’s' departure has had an even more detrimental impact than previously thought. Without someone to keep him on the right tracks, the ex-Lille winger has immersed himself in controversy as he had done two years previously.
Guus Hiddink’s arrival in December has, on the whole, resulted in an upturn of fortunes in west London. Despite this, Hazard has bucked the trend and continues to show the poor form that the majority of the squad exhibited at the start of the season.
While his chain of stagnant performances undoubtedly has many roots, Drogba’s absence proves one for sure. As a result, unless a senior member of the Blues squad fits the Ivorian’s role, Hazard may be slipping out the Chelsea exit in the summer.
PSG fans must be rubbing their hands together.
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