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Antonio Rudiger has explained why Eden Hazard likely won't score 40 goals in a season

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Maurizio Sarri’s decision to play Eden Hazard as a false nine rather than out wide is still generating debate among Chelsea fans.

Despite the Blues inflicting Manchester City’s first defeat of the season and following it up with a victory over Brighton, plenty are yearning to see the Belgian return to his favoured left-wing role.

Hazard has definitely seen less of the ball while being deployed centrally in his last two outings, but it’s not as if his influence has completely dissipated.

The 27-year-old assisted both goals to topple Pep Guardiola’s men just over a week ago, before setting up Pedro’s opener and then scoring himself at the Amex Stadium on Sunday.

As such, Hazard has had a hand in an unrivalled 17 Premier League goals this term, netting eight himself.

So, with Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud distinctly out of favour with Sarri, will the 2018 World Cup semi-finalist see out the campaign as a striker?

David Luiz can see him pulling it off with ease.

“Intelligent players can play everywhere. It doesn't matter the position,” the Brazilian said, per the Sun.

“He is at the top level, he is a world class player, he can play everywhere.”

On the other hand, Antonio Rudiger questions - in a positive manner - Hazard’s suitability to lead the line.

Swansea City v Chelsea - Premier League

The centre-back isn’t convinced his colleague has the singleminded approach needed to hit Sarri’s target of 40 goals a season in such competitive division.

“He is a leader. He provides a good example, not by speaking but by showing. He gets kicked often, because he is good,” Rudiger said.

“With respect to the others, I think in the Premier League they are not stupid players, so to reach 40 goals? Maybe he can do it.

“But what he does is OK. We need to respect the other teams, it's not like they are bad or something.

“He does not have too much of an ego. If he sees other players standing in a better position, he plays them in.”

Chelsea FC v Manchester City - Premier League

Irrespective of Hazard’s selfless playing style, it would be somewhat delusional for Sarri to expect him to bag almost a half-century of goals within a single campaign.

The ex-Lille prodigy’s most prolific season remains his final one in France when he scored 22 goals in all competitions.

His best return at Chelsea to date? He recorded 19 strikes throughout Jose Mourinho’s double-winning 2014-15 season.

Is Hazard capable of scoring more goals than he has done so far in his career? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

Topics:
Football
Maurizio Sarri
Pedro Rodriguez Ledesma
Antonio Rudiger
Alvaro Morata
Olivier Giroud
Eden Hazard
David Luiz
Chelsea

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