The Dutchman has got the Blues back on track after a miserable start to the campaign that forced the club to part company with iconic manager Jose Mourinho.
Diego Costa was the matchwinner at the Emirates, with the Spaniard finally rediscovering the form that evaded him during Mourinho’s turbulent final few months at Stamford Bridge.
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Here are the three players to have improved most under Hiddink and who could now help Chelsea climb up the Premier League table.
Like Didier Drogba before him, there’s something about playing Arsenal that Costa seems to relish.
The Spaniard was at his most devastating on Sunday afternoon, with his goal coming after Per Mertesacker had been dismissed for his last-man challenge on the former Atletico Madrid striker.
Costa was infamously involved in a bizarre touchline spat with Mourinho in a goalless draw against Tottenham in November, but the departure of the Portuguese has sparked a stunning rejuvenation.
His winner at the Emirates was his sixth goal in as many matches, and his improvement may be enough to convince the supporters that he is capable of maintaining the form that made him one of the league’s best players last season.
Cesc Fabregas was booed and jeered by Arsenal fans all afternoon but was outstanding on his return to his former club.
Like Costa, Mourinho’s exit has let him knuckle down and enjoy his football and, unlike his midfield partner Nemanja Matic, he remains an integral part of the starting line-up.
The 28-year-old was reportedly tickling the fancy of Serie A titans Juventus last month, yet now looks back to his best and any likelihood of a transfer has surely been put on hold for now.
When fully at the races, Fabregas can be the best playmaker in the top flight, and Hiddink will no doubt be delighted at the Spaniard’s timely return to form.
Widely regarded as a fading force due to his poor form under Mourinho, Branislav Ivanovic has silenced his critics and was at his rock-solid best on Sunday afternoon.
The Serbian international, who supplied the cross for Costa’s emphatic winner, nullified Nacho Monreal and Theo Walcott who were left frustrated down the left-hand side.
He has put pen to paper on a new contract though whether he can continue to produce for the long term may depend on who succeeds Hiddink on a permanent basis in the summer.
For now, the Blues look to have their veteran back, and Ivanovic’s experience may be crucial in determining where the club end up finishing in May.
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